Late Night at the Mack
Review by Sarah Crane
Wednesday nights at the MacKenzie Theatre are comedy nights and the slogan for the Late Night at the Mack series tells me "You never know who you might see." One mainstay is host and well-known Island comic Laurie Murphy. The slogan holds true enough for the rest of the show. Murphy leads the audience through an evening of traditional stand-up comedy, energetic improvisation, musical comedy and many other effusions from talented people. While you may not be sure who will show up on stage, at least you can be certain that you're going to have a good time. There were familiar faces and names, talent from the Charlottetown Festival, local and visiting performers on the stage and all of it was fun and creative.
The show starts at 11 pm. And it just might be the perfect alternative to smoky, crowded bars where you have to shout over loud music. The Mackenzie Theatre provided a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere while the performers provided creativity and energy. The improv group was musical, physical, and fast. The energy from the stage was contagious. Audience participation made it feel like everyone could be involved in what was happening on the stage. There was a physical theatre artist, traditional stand-up comedy, and then Margie Carmichael took the audience home with an Island touch to her hilarious stories and songs.
Wednesday night is comedy, Thursday is a cabaret night with Festival musicians and guests, Friday is "Close enough for Jazz" hosted by the Jive King's Bob Nicholson and on Saturday nights the Festival cast, crew and staff appear in a talk variety show hosted by Laurie Murphy.
During the summer there is so much talent collected here on the Island. Late Night at the Mack is a chance to appreciate that talent. It brings performers together, showcasing them in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. During the show, there was a buzz of energy in the theatre, and when it was over, the doors opened to quiet, still streets with no cars and few lights. Late on that Wednesday night all the energy of a hot summer evening must have been gathered inside the Mack.