Cel­e­brat­ing in story and song

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

For six years now, the St. Peters Court­house Theatre has hosted a sum­mer fes­ti­val in trib­ute to the writ­ing legacy of for­mer poet lau­re­ate of P.E.I. and na­tive of St. Peters Bay, the late Frank Led­well.

Cel­e­brat­ing sto­ry­telling of all kinds, in­clud­ing com­edy, song, the writ­ten word and oral sto­ry­telling it­self, The Frank Led­well Sto­ry­telling and Com­edy Fes­ti­val is a three-day pre­sen­ta­tion of a va­ri­ety of writ­ers, mu­si­cians and sto­ry­tellers.

There could not be a more per­fect lo­ca­tion for the fes­ti­val, as Led­well him­self used to per­form at the court­house. And what makes the en­ter­tain­ment Out And

About lineup ex­tra spe­cial is the key unit­ing fac­tor that all per­form­ers have some sort of con­nec­tion to Frank — whether it be fam­ily mem­ber, friend, writ­ing col­league or for­mer stu­dent.

Last Fri­day fea­tured Teresa Doyle, Nils Ling, Deirdre Kessler, Mike Dixon and Jane Led­well, fol­lowed by a Satur­day night lineup of Lau­rie Brin­klow, Alan Buchanan, Margie Carmichael and Ed Mac­Don­ald.

And on Sun­day night, I was at hand for the fi­nal show of the fes­ti­val that fea­tured Pa­trick Led­well, Brian J. Dunn and Dianne Hicks Mor­row.

As things got un­der­way at 8 p.m., the au­di­ence mem­bers in the nearly-full theatre were dou­bling over in their seats right away with in­tro­duc­tory tales from the grow­ing-up years by the night's host, and Frank's eldest son, co­me­dian Pa­trick Led­well.

Well known now on P.E.I. as be­ing the man who can bring a gig­gle work­out to your abs bet­ter than 100 sit-ups could do, he has been hold­ing down the hu­mour fort in Hunter River once again this sum­mer, for the third in­stal­ment of The Is­land Sum­mer Re­view at Har­mony House Theatre.

It was a treat to take in Pa­trick's rounds of sto­ry­telling there in St. Peters, though, as he also lamented to us about his first per­for­mance ex­pe­ri­ences — coaxed on by his fa­ther — in that very theatre.

It was won­der­ful to hear P.E.I.'s poet lau­re­ate, Hicks Mor­row, talk about her con­nec­tion to Frank, as she cred­its his en­cour­age­ment as her cre­ative writ­ing pro­fes­sor at UPEI with jump­start­ing her writ­ing ca­reer.

Read­ings from her latest book of po­etry, "What Re­ally Hap­pened Is This: A Po­etry Memoir", and other writ­ten works of both po­etry and prose com­prised her seg­ments that night as we also re­ceived a taste of en­ter­tain­ing 1. The Spirit of Chau­tauqua - 151 Heather Moyse Dr., Summerside, to­day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 2. Trail­side week­end fea­tur­ing The Mu­seum Pieces tonight, Char­lie A'Court to­mor­row night and AquaAlta (with Jenn Grant) on Sun­day night - Trail­side Café, Mount Stewart, 8 p.m. with din­ner seat­ing at 6:30 p.m. 3. Re­becca Caine - St. Mary's Church, In­dian River, to­day at 7:30 p.m. 4. Rock The Boat Mu­sicfest - Tyne Val­ley, start­ing to­mor­row at 2 p.m., fea­tur­ing Tom Cochrane, Matt An­der­sen, the Ir­ish De­scen­dants and more. Check out peioys­ter­fest.com. 5. P.E.I. High­land Games and Scot­tish Fest - Lord Selkirk Pro­vin­cial Park, to­mor­row. Visit cale­do­nian­clubof­pei.ca for in­for­ma­tion. new ma­te­rial for her forth­com­ing book.

Dunn brought the mu­sic com­po­nent as he ser­e­naded the room that night with a voice that con­veys high emo­tion through care­fully crafted alt-coun­try songs like God Only Knows and Pretty Black Dress - tunes from his re­cent CD re­lease, "Death Do Us Part".

It was my first time to get a good chance to lis­ten to Dunn in per­for­mance, and I now re­ally look for­ward to the next time. Check out www.bri­an­j­dunn.ca for more on this tal­ented Is­land singer/song­writer.

And with a fi­nale to the night that fea­tured a recita­tion of the Frank Led­well poem, "John of the Is­land", by Pa­trick, the show and, in­deed, the sixth an­nual fes­ti­val it­self wrapped up on a very fit­ting note.

If you've never at­tended the Frank Led­well Sto­ry­telling and Com­edy Fes­ti­val be­fore and are a fan of sto­ry­telling and orig­i­nal P.E.I. mu­sic (or of course are a fan of Frank Led­well's writ­ing), then do keep it in mind for a sum­mer's night out in lovely St. Peters next year.

Your other chances to catch up­com­ing shows at St. Peters Court­house in­clude "The Ru­mour Mill" ev­ery Thurs­day this sum­mer and the Sum­mer Con­cert Se­ries fea­tur­ing Jor­dan Cameron and An­drew Waite on Aug. 12 and Ir­ish Mythen on Aug. 26.

You can also take in the movie night at the Court­house ev­ery Fri­day, with ad­mis­sion by do­na­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.court­housethe­atre.ca.

Next week: Rock The Boat Mu­sicfest.

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