SHOWING THEIR ROOTS
Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines show their roots in the fifth edition of ‘The Island Summer Review’ playing selected dates at Harmony House Theatre
Patrick Ledwell, Mark Haines onstage for fifth edition of ‘The Island Summer Review’.
When someone’s roots are showing, they often get them touched up before anyone notices.
But not Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines.
They’re happy to bring their natural tresses to a brand new edition of “The Island Summer Review”.
“Everything that is part of the show is deeply felt, and we would like it to raise little hair on the arms in some way. So it’s all connected to our roots,” says Ledwell of the show that runs every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. at Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River until Sept. 8.
Now in its fifth season, the vibrant variety show features Ledwell, a comedian, and Haines, a multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter, teaming up to perform an original set of Island stories with up-to-date humour, diverse musical styles and a foot-stomping blend of everything in between.
“I’m a roots-based musician. It’s what I like to do and it’s fun to bring something to the table, maybe something I’ve worked on for years and I tell Pat it’s something I want to do,” says Haines.
For instance, he brought a “killer version” of ‘Mack the Knife’ to rehearsals a few months ago. In turn, it inspired Ledwell to put his own strand of storytelling along side of it.
“I’ve always liked the roots of my Dad’s story about Island nicknames which has things in it like ‘Jimmy Joe the butcher’ in it. In the same way, ‘Mack the Knife’ has a string of names that go into jazz bebop.
“So, to give the show a different weave, we have put 1950s jazz styling together with the rhythms of nicknames in Kings County. And, in the end, come up with something that feels freshly styled and new,” says Ledwell.
An important strand of the show is celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada. And how the country is showing its roots as a nation, while retaining its P.E.I. connections.
“I have a song that I wrote with Wade Lynch that tells the whole story of the Fathers of Confederation in six minutes. You should hear it,” says Haines.
As a response to the song, Ledwell immediately brings the people in the audience together by asking them what part of the country they’re from.
“We wanted to make sure people knew from the offset that there are people in the audience of 120 from all over Canada.”
A special story that Ledwell is telling is based on a photo of four Islanders taken just after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. His grandfather, Thomas Alexander Ledwell, is one of the soldiers. With the 100th anniversary of the battle and so many people saying Canada came into its own as a nation at Vimy, he felt it was time to tell the family account because so many Islanders and Canadians saw horror there.
“But what I’m choosing to bring across, as part of my roots, is that my grandfather gave my family and me the gift of words. And, after the war, when he came back to St. Peters Bay he was fiercely committed to a peaceful life of ideas, sharing and reading.
And it’s so wonderful to see people connecting with that.”
Funny man Patrick Ledwell, left, and musician Mark Haines have a spontaneous rehearsal on the streets of Charlottetown this past Tuesday. Their show, “The Island Summer Review”, runs Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m., at Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River until Sept. 8.
Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines arrive for sound check for Wednesday’s show at Harmony House Theatre.