Review by Andrea McVean
"I think it was Stan Rogers who recognized that farm wives are actually farmers," says Margie Carmichael, as she begins to strum a heart wrenching tale of a farm wife turning her back on the family farm. I feel my eyes well up, as I listen to Carmichael, a seasoned pro who is able to capture the same human spirit that Stan Rogers loved to sing about. It's the second set of The Seagals opening night at the Benevolent Irish Society, and the audience is starting to loosen up and really enjoy themselves. I am excited to see four women on stage, experimenting with poetry and song, while re-forging an age-old Island identity.
The Seagals performance group is comprised of Margie Carmichael, Laurie Murphy, Christina Forgeron and Amanda Mark. These names should ring a bell, most recently from their collaborative work in Murphy's improvisation troupe, The F.I.G.H.T. Club, and their individual work as singer/songwriters, comedians and actors. The show is a Prince Edward Island mosaic, jam packed with all sorts of goodies, somber tales of making it on the land, knee slapping, howlin' coyote tunes, and sweet love poetry, all written by the gals.
The show's format is roughly based on the good ol' Rise and Follies of Cape Breton, but with a feminist edge. It's quite an undertaking, when you consider how Cape Bretoners eat and sleep music, but these women have some serious talent to draw upon. You can tell that Carmichael and Forgeron, the musical backbone of the group, have been raised on a steady diet of music, and just love to perform. Mark adds a sweet edge to the show with her ironic poetry and great bass playing, and Murphy shows a different side of herself, putting the comedian on the back burner, and showing us the poet and singer.
The show possesses a raw energy with room to evolve into a polished performance. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning for the Seagals.