August 9, 2016

“The Postmistress Delivers, 1st Class!” review by PL Holden

When you cross a truly unique set (Scenic Design by W. Scott MacConnell, who did a great job creating a post office/cabaret hybrid) & light show (designed by James Clement & technically executed by Dave Nicholson) with musical direction on keyboards by Holly Arsenault, & Ken Fornetran on Saxophone & then let Martha Irving go to town with her magical conversions of a bunch of random letters into song, you get a stage that absolutely beams of enthusiasm & starshine!

postmistressMartha Irving (Director of the musical Anne & Gilbert for 5 years) began her career at Victoria Playhouse in Barefoot in the Park in 1977 & returned last year to star in Sexy Laundry. This year, from August 6 to September 4, she owns the stage as a charming postal worker with a lovely French Canadian accent named Marie-Louise (whose raison d’être, she admits during the show, is her service to her post office), a role she originated at Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, NS, in this dynamic one-woman show by Playwright Tomson Highway (who is the recipient of 10 honorary doctorates & is a member of the Order of Canada, today enjoying an international career as a playwright, novelist, pianist, composer, & songwriter). In The Postmistress, Irving is quick on her feet, hitting all the notes in a variety of catchy tunes from both of Canada’s official languages (the soundtrack album of The (Post) Mistress, received a Juno Award in 2015 for Aboriginal Album of the Year), & taking the audience to school in terms of comedic timing. She also makes very effective use of props.

In many songs she was shelling out the dirt on residential gossip, but nonetheless remains a class act the whole way through. Most of the numbers required a delicate balance of sentimentality, phrasing, & punch-line ad libs (usually with a nudge & a wink) & she was very impressive. I thought the story she told about her younger days in Buenos Aires was just adorable.  Director Catherine O’Brien (who is also playing the role of Rachel Lynde in this season’s production of Anne & Gilbert at The Guild), who has demonstrated her talents as an actress & vocalist on many occasions over the years must no doubt be very proud of this performance.

I’m sure the collective abundance of theatrical experience between everyone involved had a lot to do with the seamless flow of a range of emotions from sadness, to madness, to seduction, to utter silliness (sometimes even bordering on going absolutely postal), & huge rounds of applause were definitely not in short supply. Unless you find the thought of listening to a French-Canadian accent for a couple of hours annoying there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have a great time watching Martha Irving strutting her stuff. If you can get a ticket (ticket info @ http://victoriaplayhouse.com/tickets/ ) to this feel-good, must-see PEI theatre event, it’s well worth the drive out to Victoria.

August 6, 2016

Dawna Wightman Podcast & IFF Reviews by Kimberley Johnston

Nutshell Captivates Island Fringe Festival Goers by Kimberley Johnston

Nutshell, a 100-percent homegrown production captivated Fringe Festival audiences on the outdoor patio of Beanz  Fridaynight.

The sky was sunny but there was a cloud that hung over Jonah, the main character in a script written by local writer Benton Hartley. You see, Jonah (played by Justin Shaw) has been having a rough couple of weeks since he stopped taking his anxiety medication. His family and friends are worried about him and hoping he pulls out of it. The voices in Jonah’s head certainly aren’t making it easy for him.

There were many high points to the show but Jonah’s voices are very well done. I can tell this because they manage to make Jonah’s life a living hell but still manages to endear themselves to the audience. They also make a handy-dandy impromptu stage crew, which makes the show hum along at the perfect pace.

Rory Starkman did a wonderful job directing this ensemble cast. It is obvious how much work went into this project by the local cast and crew.
Bottom line: Go see this show before the Island Fringe Festival is over!

Nutshell will be playing at Beanz Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 5:30.

Un Glitch Absurde Titillates With Smart Sexiness By Kimberley Johnston
Charlottetown Burlesque’s Island Fringe Festival offering Un Glitch Absurde titillated  audiences while giving them plenty to think about.

Gordon Cobb, playing Mackey the Emcee, invited a full house at the Haviland Club to be honest with themselves as he brought them through 10 scenes portraying fringe aspects of human fetishes and sexuality.

Each sketch has a corresponding song or songs, which are brilliantly performed by the cast of the show. Four of the songs are French but English-speaking audiences can quickly get the general idea through strong singing skills, excellent props and costumes. If you’re not a fan of the costumes, fear not, a lot of them end up on the floor.

by Kimberley Johnston

by Kimberley Johnston

I know what you’re wondering: Can I take my mother to this show? I guess that would depend. Does she mind seeing nipple pasties?

Bottom line: Get to the Haviland Club early and visit their lovely bar! This show has been selling out every night.

Un Glitch Absurde  will be playing at the Haviland Club Saturday and Sunday nights at 10 pm.

Check out www.islandfringe.com for schedules and summaries for each of the eight shows. Show goers must each be donning a $3 patron pin. Proceeds from the pins go to the IFF to help defray operating costs and will keep the festival going strong for another five years.

August 4, 2016

Island Fringe Festival Schedule, Reviews, & Lorne Elliot Interview

fringe schedule

A Play Better Than Hamlet

Patrick Jeffrey delivered a great intro, explaining the vibe of the Festival which has 8 shows with admission by donation & lots of Fringe extras giving a great catch phrase: “Just like Pokemon – ya gatta catch ‘em all”

In Venue #1, The Holland College Culinary Institute the Dean of Canadian Stand Up Lorne Elliot (CBC’s Madly Off All Directions) steps on the stage for a Fringe headliner. A lecture is about to take place from a somewhat reluctant (& maybe just a little off  his rocker) professor starts off this epic rant about an epic play with a knock-knock joke. Drudgery & zingers in the recap of the classic play Hamlet are plentiful, it’s sure to get you laughing & thinking. If you like dry humor & are OK with the Shakespeare bashing, check out a bold critique you’re not likely to see anywhere else but The Island Fringe Festival. Enjoy & pray you make it out alive!

Life as a Pomegranate

After a somewhat awkward entrance, a starry-eyed, yet timid wanderer with a great message was setting the scene for a display of courage not often witnessed, stating in the opening: “I would be so honoured to move just 1 person”. At Marc’s Lounge, Island Fringe Festival patrons were offered a glimpse into the mind & soul of Dawna Wightman as Rosie Fudge (not to mention an array of colorful characters/personifications of obstacles to personal growth that were part of her life along the way), taking the audience on a trip that’s attention grabbing the whole way through.

In a struggle of being a good wife with dreams on the shelf vs. being the actress she’s always wanted to be this inspiring personal story of fear, embarrassment, pain, & feeling trapped ultimately boils it down to finding a strength she didn’t realize was within her. This actress out of Toronto digs deep and delivers everything she has to give in the rawest of ways & I believe what she gives the audience is an opportunity to share in her triumph!

We’ll have an interview with Dawna posted this weekend, for now check out a fun  ArtistsOnTheIsland conversation with Lorne Elliot…

August 1, 2016

PEI Fringe Festival Line Up & Artists on the Island Podcast #1 with Mariève MacGregor & Cameron Cassidy

The Island Fringe Festival is celebrating its 5th birthday in style! From August 4-7 2016, downtown Charlottetown will come alive with eight original works, as well as In the Park events for all ages and After Dark events for the night-owls.

After sold-out shows last year, Charlottetown Burlesque returns to the Haviland Club with Un Glitch Absurde, a cheeky and entertaining sequel to last year’s popular burlesque! Mariève MacGregor & Cameron Cassidy join PL Holden, Jeff Bursey, & Kimberley Johnston for the first ever Artists on the Island Podcast…

 

 

The Festival launches at Marc’s Lounge (125 Sydney St.) on August 3 at 8pm with Poetry in the Wild, a chance to show off your dramatic chops with “found poetry”. Charming nutrition labels, melancholy Tinder bios, texts from Dad, unintentional newspaper haiku, and depressing shopping lists recited with grace, elegance and humour. Celebrate the brilliance of the written word in its least pretentious form. Berets and bongos are encouraged.
A Better Play Than Hamlet

fringe lineup 2A Better Play Than Hamlet is the keynote speech about Shakespeare’s play by a professor who, like the subject of his discourse, may or may not be going insane. Written and performed by LORNE ELLIOTT as a World Premiere in Charlottetown. Turtle Pond Theatre (Charlottetown, PE) G
Latecomers: No

Ceilidh on the Coast

Percussive Feet, soaring voices and lively choreography take to the stage as the Island tradition of a ceilidh is brought to you by Prince Edward Island’s Premiere Dance Company Reel Talent. Featuring the Most Outstanding Performers in Traditional Dance and directed by award winning choreographer Jennifer Carson this is one time honoured traditional show you won’t want to miss! Reel Talent School of Dance (Charlottetown, PE) G
Latecomers: Yes

   Charlottetown Burlesque Presents: Un Glitch Absurde

Since 2014, Charlottetown Burlesque has offred inclusive, cheeky and entertaining shows replete with song, dance, costume and comedy. In this follow-up to the highest attended production of the 2015 IFF, An Island Affair, Charlottetown Burlesque presents a new and completely different reprieve from distorted societal ideals of sexuality with Un Glitch Absurde. Il est simultanément laid et beau, sexy et grotesque, drôle et charmant. Ne manquez pas cette aventure surréliste. Charlottetown Burlesque (Charlottetown, PE) R
Latecomers: Yes

Feelings

Feelings is a semi-autobiographical two-man show from Bill Black and Emile Beauchemin, two best friends and theatre partners who decide to explore their relationship and the conflicting nature of their personalities, with the help of the themes and messages of the plays they’ve done together (CaligulaTwelfth Night and Othello) as well as their relationship towards their futures, the audience, and theatre itself. A dramatic comedy. Miracle & Apocalypse (Quebec City, QC) PG -13
Latecomers: Yes

 

Hikari

All the way from Mexico: “He who walks down the road.“ Triptych which reveals the constant struggle between opposed forces that are paradoxically intertwined. From darkness, comes light. With light, comes searching. The search begets a desperation that threatens to consume it all and drag the subject to the deep dark, descending into the underworld. Nevertheless, even when sunk in the depths, the individual can surmount this disposition and grows, expanding from larva to butterfly, going from internal journey to the plenitude of the Self.Komorebi (Mexico City, Mexico) PG 
Latecomers: Yes

 

It’s a Spaceship Now

This heartfelt, hilarious one-man show from Stuart Wilson that dares to explore space, to explore the future and the past. Will Stu conquer his fears? Will his nuclear missile-cumspaceshop take him to the stars? How will the humans he leaves behind react? Stuart Wilson is an acclaimed performer and writer, now touring with his award-nominated solo show It’s a Spaceship NowStuart Wilson (Providence, RI, USA) PG
Latecomers: Yes

 

Life as a Pomegranate

Lovable Rosie Fudge has a big dream, but when she finds herself struggling with a herd of children, an ignorant husband, inner demons & a failing mother in small town BC, she has to get drastic to find her way back. A great comedy for anyone who has ever lost their way in life. Messy, Juicy, Seedy, Bitter. Sweet. Winner Outstanding Actress Award from Off Broadway’s 2013 Mid Town International Theatre Festival! Life as a Pomegranate (Toronto, ON) PG-13 
Latecomers: No

 

Nutshell 

Jonah has barely left his apartment in thirteen days, held captive by the thoughts in his head. When he get fired from his job, his friends decide enough is enough. If only Jonah could bring himself to accept their help. Written by Benton Hartley, Nutshell is a hilarious and unblinking look at anxiety, friendship and standing up for yourself. The Fantastic Space/Vagabond Productions (Charlottetown, PE) PG-13
Latecomers: Yes

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