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Carmody Comedy Follies

Review by Sarah Crane

Catherine McKinnnon and Don Harron host the Comedy Follies this summer at the Carmody Comedy Barn in Stanley Bridge at Catherine McKinnon's Spot O' Tea. The theme of the show is travel, and it fulfills this by taking the audience on a journey, leading them around the world and back through music hilarity.

And who could think of better traveling companions than music and hilarity? Except perhaps the hosts of the evening, McKinnon and Harron. Gracious hosts that they are, they occasionally leave the audience in the hands of some eccentric characters. There are four of these oddballs who join the show over the course of the evening, including the farcical Charlie Farquharson. The comical cleverness of Harron's different incarnations leaves the audience roaring, and that is when they only catch half of the jokes being dealt. Each character graces the audience with unusual tales of travel.

McKinnon sweeps onto the stage in an air of elegance, her renowned voice and gracious manner enthralls the audience. Through song, she takes everyone in her barn on a journey, to Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, France and beyond. Yet however exotic the location may be, the songs are always somehow familiar, and they echo in your heart.

But just like real travels we eventually return home and nobody is closer to home than Charlie Farquharsan and his lovely wife Valeda. They may have gotten off the farm long enough to collect some traveling tales to share with us but they still have that down home Island charm.

McKinnon also gives us a taste of Maritime charm in a slightly more refined manner-music that is. For these songs, the barn is rocking, with every audience member participating in pounding out a lively beat. The songs are familiar enough to bring most everyone to sing along.

From the moment McKinnon and Harron, and their special guests, step onto the stage, they hold the audience in the palm of their hand, leading them through the evening and travels. The couple's professional, comfortable stage manner puts everyone at ease. They both have a presence on the stage that comes from their extensive entertainment backgrounds, much of which is recounted in the stories. They have the ability to make you feel as at home in their barn as they are on the stage.

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