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Q & A with Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines

by Ann Thurlow 

Patrick Ledwell & Mark Haines (photo: Sally Coles)Harmony House in Hunter River plays host to The Island Summer Review. Ann Thurlow had some questions for the show’s creators and stars, Mark Haines and Patrick Ledwell, about this year’s production.

AT: Hey, it’s been a while—how did you winter?

MH: I love it when June rolls around. I know that winter will soon be over and I’ll be able to get out of my long johns and do the warm weather chores. But best of all I know we’ll be getting ready for The Island Summer Review.

PL: The show runs in the summer, but most of our work happens in the winter. This spring, I heard a lobster fisher talking about setting day. He said that, by the time the boat hits the water, all the hard work is done. Repairing boat and traps, fixing nets. We’re flattering ourselves by comparison, but that’s true for the show.

AT: Anything catch your eye or inspire you for this summer’s show?

MH: As far as inspiration for the show this year it’s what hasn’t caught my eye or crossed my mind. One of the themes we’re dealing with this summer is forgetfulness, and oh yes there’s love and murder, Maritime travel and one other thing…

PL: Yeah, forgetfulness is a good editor. If I have an idea, and still remember it months later, I’ve learned to trust the gut feeling there’s something there. This March, I was listening to streamed Irish music on St. Paddy’s with my son Nate. The next day, I’m driving to Moncton and hit an epic pothole. That jarring impact mashed up a couple things in my mind, and led to an idea for a song called “Rocky Road to Moncton.”

AT: Hold on. Maybe there are some people who don't know what the Review is all about. A brief explanation, maybe?

MH: I would describe it as a Prince Edward Island based theatrical smorgasbord of comedic and musical delights guaranteed to give us a good laugh at ourselves while taking us on a roving song and sound adventure.

AT: I expect there might be some people who'll say “oh, I've seen that all before."

PL: Mark actually intros some of our Review pieces with, “Well, here’s something you’ve never seen before.” True story. We’re honestly always trying to raise the bar creatively, taking our audience surprising places without losing them on the way.

AT: Have you got a favourite bit this year?

PL: There are words I can’t get out of my head, like Kombucha and Bouctouche. Try to say those and not feel happier. One is an extremely low-alcohol fermented drink that got in a spot of trouble with the Liquor Control Commission. The other? A small town flooded with Islanders, after New Brunswick changed the highway turn-off to PEI. What’d they have in common? You need to come to the show in Hunter River to find out.

MH: This year in particular I am really looking forward to the musical travelogue the different styles our songs will present. We are going to swing, stomp and rock our way through the summer. We’re packing more instruments than ever. The guitar, piano, fiddle and trumpet will be on the bill of course as well as some new sounds from the bass, the bodhran and…well there’s always room for cello.

The Island Summer Review opens July 5 and runs each Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8 pm to August 31. For ticket details visit or call 1-888-311-9090.

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