July 24, 2014

Charlottetown Festival’s Noontime Entertainment by Cindy Lapeña

After watching the Young Company’s Charlottetown Festival performances for several years, I was more or less expecting a familiar show but hoping for some major differences—diversity, if you will. In that, I was not disappointed.
DSC05111 DSC05144 DSC05227 DSC05258In keeping with this year’s celebration of 150 years since the 1864 Charlottetown Conference and the Charlottetown Festival’s 50th year, the Young Company wows its audiences with several new numbers, costumes, and choreography. The noontime tradition staged in the Confederation Centre’s amphitheatre opened with the iconic We Are Canadian, a brand new song composed for this year’s Festival and launched with the grand re-opening of the Homburg Theatre. For this number, the Company sported snazzy new red, black, and white outfits. There were several new faces in the company as well, and it was refreshing to witness female narrators and soloists this year.
Not in the show this year was the narrative beginning with the French explorer Jacques Cartier. Instead of the extended Celtic-Gaelic-Acadian suite, this year’s spectacle introduced an extended Middle Eastern medley, as well as an extended South American medley with an African touch, with a bit of Italian thrown in. Still in the show was the crowd favourite, the Chinese Lion Dance, this time with a soloist who performed a bit of acrobatic contortions, which received much applause from the audience, despite her unsteady poses.
The performers were unmatched in energy and enthusiasm and kept the appreciative audience well entertained with their presence. However, their dance skills were uneven, especially when it came to levels and lifts. They are, indeed, a Young Company in more ways than one. Hopefully, by the end of the Festival run, they will have learned to dance as a company rather than as individuals.
Immediately following the Young Company’s performance, the audiences were drawn by the famous clown J. Birt who, this year, did  a sword-swallowing trick while a second clown juggled clubs. I must say that this year’s sound system and the actors’ projection and diction was much better than in some years past—I could actually hear all the dialogue, and very clearly. The blocking was much improved and more relaxed, and the acting was polished and almost effortless. It was an excellent excerpt of history in the making, which certainly makes education more interesting.
July 18, 2014

July 18 & 19 #PEI Weekend Events & Movie Previews



Watermark Theatre 07:30pm Nudie & Max Keenlyside Reignite the Beatles and the Rolling Stones with guest Adam Brazier

St. Mary’s Church 07:30pm Quartette—Cindy Church, Caitlin Hanford, Gwen Swick, Sylvia Tyson

Mack, The (MacKenzie Theatre) 07:30pm Searching for Abegweit: The Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant

Harbourfront Theatre 07:30pm The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom

Trailside Café & Inn 08:00pm Ennis

Harmony House 08:00pm The Island Summer Review with Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines

St. James’ Gate 08:30pm – 11:00pm Tian Wigmore & Chris Corrigan

Old Triangle Pub 09:00pm Irish Mythen

The Guild, 11:00pm Ladies and GentlemAn

Charlottetown Yacht Club Charlottetown Race Week Dance with Adam MacGregor & The Foes

Victoria Playhouse Kiss The Moon, Kiss The Sun

The Pourhouse, The Ghost Experience on PEI

Baba’s Lounge Wildcat + Mindwaves + The Dwellers

Charlottetown Legion Misty Water

Fishbones Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill Racoon Bandit + Dylan Menzie

John Brown Richmond Street Grille Lady Soul

Marc’s Lounge Mitch Schurman

Olde Dublin Pub Sunday Punch

Peake’s Quay Restaurant & Bar Sticks

Summerside Summerside Lobster Festival

The Guild, 07:30am Anne & Gilbert, The Musical

Confederation Centre: Homburg Theatre 07:30am Canada ROCKS!

Confederation Centre: Studio 2 12:00pm Circle Around the Centre

Confederation Centre: Amphitheatre 12:00pm The Young Company—We are Canadian!

Province House 01:00pm Confederation Players—The Magnificent Scene

Water Street Fish & Chips 06:00pm – 08:00pm Rodney Perry

Rodd Charlottetown Hotel 06:30pm Brothers Two Restaurant 06:30pm Feast Dinner Theatre—”Heard it Through the Grapevine”

Milton Community Hall 07:30pm 2014 Minutes of Story and Song with Margie Carmichael and Lauren Thompson


Opening Onscreen 

Cineplex -  Planes: Fire & Rescue

 City Cinema –  Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

Brackley Drive-In - Tammy & Neighbors



Confederation Centre: Homburg Theatre 02:00am & 7:30am Canada ROCKS!

The Guild, 04:00am Anne & Gilbert, The Musical

Confederation Centre: Amphitheatre 12:00pm The Young Company—We are Canadian!

Back Alley Music 12:30pm – 03:30pm Soupy Saturday

Province House 01:00pm Confederation Players—The Magnificent Scene

Next Door @ Merchantman 02:00pm Jordan Cameron

Summerside DiverseCity Summerside

Sportsman’s Club Saturday Night Blues Jam with Plain Dirty Blues Band

Confederation Landing Park Celebration Zone

Charlottetown Yacht Club Charlottetown Race Week Dance with More Soul

Baba’s Lounge Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers CD Launch + O’Leary

Rollo Bay Festival Grounds The Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival

Victoria Playhouse Kiss The Moon, Kiss The Sun

The Pourhouse, The Ghost Experience on PEI

Black Rafter Lounge Dance with Flip Side

Charlottetown Legion Old Stone Station

John Brown Richmond Street Grille Saul Good Band

Marc’s Lounge Adam MacGregor

Olde Dublin Pub Sunday Punch

Peake’s Quay Restaurant & Bar DJ Tom Fleming

Summerside Summerside Lobster Festival

 Deckhouse Pub 09:00pm Allan Sonier

Old Triangle Pub 09:00pm Irish Mythen

Haviland Club 02:00pm – 04:00pm Robbin Ward Book Launch—”Curious Perspectives”

Rodd Charlottetown Hotel 06:30pm Brothers Two Restaurant 06:30pm Feast Dinner Theatre—”Heard it Through the Grapevine”

Brakish Restaurant 07:00pm – 10:00pm Morgan Hill

Watermark Theatre 07:30pm Lion in Winter

Harbourfront Theatre 07:30pm The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom

Fortune Community Centre 07:30pm What to Wear to the Birth of a Nation

Georgetown Inn 08:00pm Amanda Jackson Band

St. Peters Courthouse Theatre 08:00pm Amy & Rachel Beck

Peake’s Quay Restaurant & Bar 08:00pm – 11:00pm Matt Steele

Victoria Row 08:00pm Route 21 with Chris Roumbanis

Next Door @ Merchantman 08:00pm Ryan Merry

The Mack, (MacKenzie Theatre) 08:00pm Ten Strings and a Goat Skin

Trailside Café & Inn 08:00pm Teresa Doyle & Larque

Harmony House 08:00pm The Island Summer Review with Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines

St. James’ Gate 08:30pm – 11:00pm Chris & Eric

Sims Corner 08:30pm – 10:30pm Mike Stratton

The Guild, 09:00pm 1864: The Tall Hat Chronicles


P.E.I.’s Homegrown Atlantic is a radio show dedicated to the musicians of Prince Edward Island & Atlantic Canada, hosted by East Coast Music Association Member, Blair Dewar.http://www.homegrownatlantic.com


Click here for more July events in PEI from Seaandbescene.com

July 14, 2014

Watermark Reigns Again! The Rainmaker Review by PL Holden

In it’s 7th season Watermark Theatre is getting a pretty good reputation for it’s period pieces. In another American Classic The Rainmaker is a play written by N. Richard Nash in the early 1950s about believing in yourself.  It was directed by Jerry Etienne.

Set in the 1930’s, a Southern family is in desperate need of some better luck. David Bulger plays H.C. Curry, the overworked, optimistic father who just wants everyone to be happy. Noah (Jonathan Widdifield) is the big brother in charge of the farm with a very good work ethic, but is obsessed with the budget & doesn’t believe in having fun. Jimmy, (Alex Furber) a lovable dimwitted country-boy, is interested in a girl Noah doesn’t approve of. And Lizzie (Watermark newcomer Leah Pritchard) is the often charming, sometimes hotheaded  farmer’s daughter who is dreaming of finding a good man to marry but has absolutely no faith in herself.

Life during a drought can be pretty disheartening, but the funny conversations about relationship problems gave the audience lots to smile about in the first act. Brian Bisson’s character File, a Deputy & possible love interest for poor Lizzie, has a tortured past & much difficulty showing his true feelings. Then came perhaps the most fascinating cast member of all, Starbuck (Robert Tsonos), a mysterious stranger with an intriguing proposition.

Act 2 raised the tension to a boil in this story and there now seemed more at stake than simply hoping for rain to fall.  Starbuck, who is absolutely full of tall tales, somehow becomes more believable. He really goes out of his way to show the Curry’s that anything is possible setting the stage for some fast-paced drama in Act 3. I was very impressed with the way so many unanswered questions seemed to resolve in an unanticipated event at the end.

This show has lots of laughter and I’m sure audiences will have a great time pondering the possibilities Starbuck’s imagination. The dynamics between characters were never dull and conversations had great flow. I liked how the rustic décor and air of hopelessness on the farm reminded me of last summer’s Charlottetown Festival hit Dear Johnny Deere. The 1930’s feel of the music was also very pleasant. The Rainmaker is another fine example of the high standard of talent and creativity to be found at Rustico’s Watermark Theatre!

July 13, 2014

The Lion in Winter Depicts Coldness in Warmth, Beauty in Dysfunction by Kimberley Johnston

So your family Christmases are dysfunctional, are they?

Try spending the holidays with King Henry II and the rest of his Plantagenet clan, who are the ancestors of the present Queen of England. The cut-throat family dynamic is best described by Eleanor of Aquitaine when John, her acne-prone simpleton son, expresses surprise when his lion-hearted brother Richard attacks him. “Of course he’s got a knife,” she says. “We’ve all got knives. It’s 1183 and we’re Barbarians.”

Pretty much. 

The Plantagenets are ugly in their ambition but the production is beautiful in its intricate simplicity. The cold and calculating characters are offset by the rich warmth of the set, costumes and lighting, showcasing various shades and textures of red with candlelight and cosy furs.

The relationships are complex and the characters are well constructed. The most elaborate association is that of Eleanor and her husband Henry.  It’s not clear from the start whether the estranged royal couple is still in love or want to destroy each other. Perhaps both. There’s no telling the effects imprisoning one’s wife can have on a marriage. It’s also difficult to know what any of the Plantagenets are really thinking or feeling as they work toward accomplishing their own ends.  King Phillip of France (played by Brian Bisson) is equally cryptic in his dealings with the English royals.

The only forthright character is the ethereal Alais (pronounced Alesse), played by Watermark newcomer Leah Pritchard. She is Henry’s innocent mistress but is in no way clueless. She’s clever enough to read the family’s real intentions but wise enough to know she can’t possibly compete with them. She accepts her place as a pawn but does so on her own terms, always betting on the King’s love for her.

The script by James Goldman is a gift to any actor. It has a rhythm that would yield a star performance out of amateur actors but the stellar Watermark players made this work a supernova. The ensemble cast, led by venerable actors Gracie Finley (Eleanor) and John Dartt (Henry), interacted with each other very well. The younger performers in the company would be wise to learn some lessons from Finley and Dartt but held their own against the theatrical juggernauts.

The show moves quickly but may take over 2 hours of your time. It is well worth it, though, and there are two 10-minute intermissions so you can stretch your legs. The cast and crew worked seamlessly and director Duncan McIntosh did a wonderful job of bringing everything together to form an amazing production.

by Kimberley Johnston

by Kimberley Johnston

The Lion in Winter was dedicated to the memory of Jack MacAndrew. The tam-wearing Watermark patron would have definitely enjoyed this piece. I wouldn’t mind going again, come to think of it.

Thanks to programs at the Watermark, certain seats are available for students and seniors at $10 each. That’s a steal. At this price, I would go see this show every day it played until August 30th. It has so many layers, I would probably catch something new with each viewing.

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