The Beauty Queen of Leenane


Are you looking for an escape from the January Blahhhs?  Check out the 1st show of the 2019 season production at the Guelph little Theatre.   The Beauty Queen of Leenane, written by Martin McDonagh is playing until February 3, 2019, with the entire cast of just four fabulous characters.  It was an entertaining afternoon sitting among the almost full house matinée performance.  It seemed as if we were transported back in time to a shabby sparse kitchen set in the hills of Western Ireland.  The inhabitants were the 40 something spinster Maureen who was the caretaker to old housebound Mother Mag’s.  

Act I we meet the bully Mother subtly pestering her daughter Maureen continuously.  She reluctantly fulfills her request of yet another cup of tea and offerings of the Irish Kimberly biscuit.  It was evident their relationship seemed rather unhealthy, as the two didn’t seem very fond of each other as they bickered back and forth in a thick Irish.

My daughter and I were grateful for the glossary of terms used in the play as it was at times hard to understand their thick Irish at times.  An example was the word  “Feck”, which was used thru-out the play.  It is a polite and socially acceptable profanity used by the Irish.  I must say it does sound much nicer than some of the profanity we use here in Canada.  

Maureen lived her day-to-day life looking after an ailing miserable Mother who seemed to enjoy that the daughter’s sole purpose in life was taking orders from her,  all the while tending to other household duties. Mag’s seemed to enjoy dishing out snide remarks to her and kept her focus on tending to all of her many needs.

I sympathized with Maureen’s character at times thru the play when the Mother made bullish remarks to her.  An example was when she told her new suitor Pato that she had spent time in the mental hospital and that in fact she was the care giver to her daughter.   The audience was left wondering then who was the more needier and perhaps more unbalanced, the daughter or the mother? 

Maureen had a chance at escaping her miserable life in Ireland when news came in the form of a letter her lover had written her.  In the letter he asked her to move to Boston, USA with him.  The smitten lover read his letter to the audience and suggested that he would understand if did not forgive him for some of the remarks he made that she took such a disliking to.  One of the the questionable remarks he said was, “put some cloths on!”, as she stood with her under garments on in the kitchen the morning after their encounter in the kitchen.  She was outraged and took this as a personal insult and told him at once to leave.  He abruptly left with the Mother shaking her head and glad for him to be gone.

After some time the brother Ray came one day to deliver a handwritten note which had been addressed to Maureen.  The delivery of the mail did not go as requested.  The Brother eventually lost patience while sitting with the chatty Mags and decided to leave it in her hands with a promise to give it to her daughter.  The audience saw all hope of the daughters chance at happiness vanish as the Mother immediately read the lovers note and threw it into the nearby fireplace. 

However the plot had its twists and turns when Maureen became outraged at the Mother’s knowledge of private information shared only between her lover Pato and her was revealed.  She knew her Mother knew something of their relationship and scolded her Mother’s hand with hot burning water demanding her to tell her what she knew.  When the daughter did this, and threw her to the floor the audience was left wondering what type of person would physically harm another, especially their mother!

The last Act was Maureen coming into the deserted kitchen with no sign of her Mother.  Her lovers brother stops by the house for a brief chat and mentions to her, “Oh did you hear, my brother got engaged?”,  and then promptly left.  Maureen sat in the now empty rocker staring at the four walls.  As with any story there is always more, but you will have to purchase your ticket to find out what happens in this little Irish Town.

This play was being adjudicated for an upcoming Festival, I am sure they will have a great chance at winning some awards.  It is another great production by the great Guelph Little Theatre, directed by Robin Bennett and produced by Liz Dennis.  There is still time to enjoy the show as it runs until Feburary 3rd.  To purchase tickets call the theatre during box office hours at 519-821-0270, or go to the website to purchase online,

Talk soon ~


Firebird at The Guelph Little Theatre


The Firebird is a wonderful Russian folklore fairytale production currently being performed at the Guelph Little Theatre till December 2nd by Rose Scollard.  The Director, D.J. Thomson commented in the playbill, “Our team has worked hard to present all the magic of theatre out in the open for you, our community, to share.  We truly are thrilled that you are here and hope that you find your moments to save in your memory banks. 

“It was a night for the memory bank”, a saying which is one of my father’s favorite.  My son & daughter who were seated on either side of me, both agreed.  Being that the performance was on a Friday evening, the kids were tired, like a lot of people by the end of the week.  However they were both on the edge of  their seats the entire performance. 

We entered the quaint venue which is in an old warehouse type of building in the Ward district of Guelph.  We could tell that we would be in for a special night as we peeked into the venue and could see the stage was adorned with brightly colored Slavic backdrops, a solo rock set on the left side of the stage, jewel covered high back chairs fit for a Princess. 

Later we would watch Princess Irenka looking into a mirror staring at her youthful beauty not knowing later in the evening she would be staring at gray hairs and wolf fingers, howling like a werewolf.  This is where we watch another character Baba Yaga pop out of a large trunk which also appeared stage on.

The story was introduced by two-headed cyborg dragons who tried to free the Firebird and save their land from the  evil Magician Koshchei who wanted to marry the beautiful Princess Irenka.  Luckily for her the story with its twists and turns Irenka returned to her beloved Alexa.

Leaving the show my son said to us, “That was sooooo good, everyone should come and watch this!”  Big sister Meaghan agreed and said she really enjoyed all of the costumes.  The Firebird costume was her most favorite, she said “it was so colorful and it looked like it was really well done”.  Meaghan thought Firebird was a really good dancer, and said she was inspired by her graceful dance movements.

The story of the Firebird inspired many literary works, including “The Little Humpback Horse” by Pyotr Yershov. The most famous production of the Firebird was by Sergei Diaghilev of Ballets Russes who commissioned composer Igor Stravinsky to create the enormously popular large-scale ballet score known as The Firebird.

The sound effects were a wonderful addition to the play.  The four foley artists who were in the background creating a meerut of sounds throughout the scenes helped bring more life to the production and were great to watch alongside the actors.

If you want to make some memories for you and your family, this is a great play to attend.  Buy your tickets here for this performance,  Perhaps it will evoke memories of your childhood as you watch the Princesse, dragons and magician in this fairytale story.  Whoever you take with you, I am sure just like the director and my Dad say, “It will be one for the memory banks!”.


Talk soon ~



In Conversation With Santee Smith


The River Run was very lucky to have an Internationally recognized Indigenous performing arts leader Santee Smith to launch the new, Miijidaa Life Stories speakers series.  Entering the Cooperators Hall you could sense it would be an intimate evening filled with insight into the life of a creative soul.


The stage was set with beautiful costumes and 2 chairs one which was guest, Santee Smith and the other was taken by host, Cameron Smillie who wears many hats in both the corporate and the performing arts world.  The night began with host asking Santee a few questions about the very beginnings of her life.  Here is a link to one of her past performances,

Santee shared with the audience that she is from the Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River, Haldimand Treaty territory.  She shared with us that she is a proud Mother to a 20-year-old daughter who is currently studying at the University, and like most parents could not believe where the time went.

It was hard to imagine what the early years of life were like for the beautiful women who took centre stage.  She had endured much hardship in the early years and mentioned many of the events she did not remember.  At age 3 she had endured the first of three accidents which left a major impression on the life of such a young soul.

At the young age of just 3 years old she was run over in a car by her Grandmother.  She endured many injuries and was hospitalized for over 3 months and many weeks of rehabilitation to learn to walk again.  Then recovering from this injury she was riding on a bicycle with her father who was at the time a carefree 20 something year old riding down a hill with his baby girl strapped on the back of his bike with a homemade carrier and by the time they had made it down to the bottom she had somehow fallen off the bike with her ankle caught in the spokes of the wheel facing the opposite direction.

With three accidents at the age of just 3 years old she needed to regain strength and with her dancing ability at such a young age she began her journey of entering the world of ballet.  She shared with the audience that thru her natural talents and her dedication she was accepted in the National Ballet School at age 11.  So at that preadolescent age she left home and studied.  Her close-knit family would call her and tell her she, “She could come home at any time, that they would just come and pick her up”.  However by the end of the call she shares she would feel better and carry on with her love and passion of the dance world. 

Dance and the performing arts was Santee’s whole world and left little for much else.  She finally became disillusioned with the dance world, and left at Grade 11 to explore other options.  She didn’t realize there was another world outside of dance until she began exploring what every other young women at the age explores, which she giggled and said “included a few parties along the way!”

She ended up going back to school and entered University and gained a degree in Kinesiology and thought she would work a physical therapist until she entered the profession and realized it was not for her.  Her love of psychology that she minored in allowed for more schooling and she eventually realized that she wanted to return back to the performing arts.

We watched 3 short films which showcased a few of Santee’s work.  The audience could gain a better insight into the creative force who sat in front of us, with the host describing how Santee’s ability to process the start and finish of each production with all of the elements such as idea, dance, choreograph, design, execution many times are the sole work of the multi talented artist.

When asked what is next by host you could tell that may take a whole other evening of conversation with Santee to delve into her world and share her vision for the future of her arts, including the Kawa:wi Dance Theatre which has served as a vehicle for Smith’s practice for than a decade.  She founded the theatre in 2005, Kaha:wi means “to carry” in Mohawk.

She was available for a VIP experience of post show Meet & Greet which took place in the Sleeman Atrium.  Here is a link with some of her students at her performing arts centre,

I look forward to more performances at the River Run Centre, here is a listing of upcoming “WHAT”S ON”,

Talk soon ~



Jason Raso “Funktet”

jason raso

I attended my first Jason Raso performance last night, and I can tell you it will not be my last.  What a wonderful intimate evening with local Guelphite Bassist, Jason and his “Funktet”,   They kicked off the Borealis Music Series at the River Run Centre last night to a full house of Jazz loving attendees. 

My daughter Meaghan who was my date for the evening, is in grade 7 and just starting her musical journey.  She chose the trumpet as an instrument to play in her music class.  She was watching the 6 piece band playing and I knew she had her eye on the trumpet when she nudged me and whispered, “Mom could I get my own mouthpiece?”  I gave her a hug and whispered back, “of course Meaghan!”, being that I played trumpet in the high school band I knew the importance of having something of your own in the musical instrument world.  I secretly can’t wait for her to come home for the first time carrying thru the door her school loaner trumpet for the weekend.

 Jason the bassist lead guitar player and his band, include a trumpet, keyboard, guitar, saxophone, and a drummer. They began their first set with the spotlight on the trumpet soloist.   Band leader, Jason Raso began strumming along, slowly introducing all of the 6 piece “Funktet”.   I had always wanted to attend one of Jason’s performance’s.  He has been performing for crowds for over two decades and is very well-respected within the local community and is a very busy professional playing worldwide. Check out his website here,

Memories of my first live Jazz performances came flooding back during the night.  My first real introduction to live Jazz was in Montreal nightclub, I will never forget the first time I sat and listened to a bluesy live jazz performer in a smokey club in Montreal.  My mother’s love of Diana Washington & Ella Fitzgerald playing loudly in the background of my youth also helped to in grain the love of Jazz.

One of my favorite songs of the night titled Eviction, .  He shared with the audience his inspiration for the writing of the song came from a photo he saw of a beautiful shiny expensive guitar sitting in a room of what looked to be someone who was down on their luck.

During this song I had visualized a troubled soul who had to choose to sell their instrument at a pawn shop just to survive. This image along with the haunting sounds of the band conjured up feelings of loss and sadness of long forgotten dreams.  Oh, the power of music to paint such a vivid portrait of the human condition.

Later in the evening he dedicated a song to his father.  Pointing him out in the audience he joked that the last time he had done that his father had excused himself to the facilities, the audience roared.  These comments and others felt like you were part of his family and maybe sitting in his living room watching the live performance, which I am sure many of the attendees in this cozy venue would agree upon.  If you ever get a chance to attend or listen to his music I highly recommend that you do so.


Talk soon,




Cirque Eloize Saloon


The performance of the Cirque Eloize Saloon was riveting for all in the audience who were lucky enough to attend a sold out performance at the River Run Centre in our Royal City.  The theatrical musical acrobatic play began with the sound of a train coming into town with just the sight of a headlight in the darkness, centre stage was a cowboy hat western musician playing the banjo.  It certainly set the tone of a good ol Western frontier with all of the elements you would expect a saloon, train, horses and unlike a lot of Westerns an amazing cast of acrobatic performances who’s performance left you on the edge of your seat. 

The Montreal based Cirque Eloize has been entertaining crowds since 1993.  The inspiration for this award-winning leading contemporary circus is lead by ringleader Jeannot Painchaud, who is President and CEO of this amazing group of over 100 individuals who make up this talented touring show.  Mr. Painchaud said in an interview once, “I got into the circus because I used to dream of traveling the entire globe.  It’s the most accessible, most beautiful way that I’ve found to do it.” 

Watching the audiences reactions I noticed a middle-aged man in front of me, who had a smile and an almost child like grin on his face the entire time during the performance.  This was the magic of the 90 minute performance it transported you to another world, the Wild West Circus world!

My 12-year-old daughter belongs to the Centre Wellington Children’s Drama Club, performed a play called the Great Canadian WEastern last year and she shared with me this brought back memories of her Western play.  She nudged me on a few occasions and commented, “Wow, they must really trust each other”, as the amazing artists displayed impressive strength and agility when they performed the many acts. 

We watched a performer twirling inside a Cyr wheel, which was invented by co-founder of the Cirque Eloize and graduate of the Montreal’s National Circus School.  I cannot imagine the sheer strength & many hours of perfecting their trade  it takes to maneuver the many moves they did, with the Arial straps, Chinese Pole, wooden planks and juggling.

My girlfriend who attended the performance with me said one of her favorite parts was the slow motion reverse and forward which was all in perfect timing during their saloon fight scene.  The performance included much of the Canadian history of building the railroad, gold rush, infused with lots of humor and don’t forget every Western needs a good romance too.  The entire show included live music with banjo, fiddle, guitar, piano and amazing vocals.

This performance is the first of The Wooly Pub Family Series, check out the River Run Centre for a full list of all of the performances taking place this 2018-2019 season,


Talk soon ~




An Evening with Harry Manx


I had an opportunity to watch Harry Manx perform live in Guelph last night.  It sent me to a place where my soul felt like it was on fire.  I guess that is what ultimately a good blues folk musician does?  Words are hard to describe how I felt watching, hearing and watching this musician.  It was as if all my senses were magnified as I watched this great master musician play the variety of instruments he brought along for his show.  

The first half of the show he played solo, while waiting for his special guest Kevin Breit who played along side him for the 2nd half of the evening.  He joked that he had called Kevin from the sound check and had asked him “Where are you?”   His friend Kevin joked, “I am in the Bathtub!”  Harry said to him, “Well Kevin that’s not a good place to be when you have a show now?”  Kevin said to Harry, “Well that is tomorrow night Harry!” Apparently it was a rather quick bath after their conversation and  rather speedy ride from Toronto on the 401 to the River Run Centre.

I had planned on taking my parents with me, but unfortunately they both fell ill the day of the concert with a flu bug.  That left me pondering whom to take along with me.  My kids ended up coming with me, Meg 11 and Noah 7.  I am so glad they both joined me for the evening, they absolutely loved it.  My son was on the edge of his seat the whole night, clapping and tapping his toes while my daughter sat beside me just as mesmerized as I was at the beauty of the sounds and the magical show the Duo put on for the lucky ticket holders last night.  

I ended up purchasing two of Harry’s CD’s for my Mother for Mothers Day.  Shhh…. don’t tell her, I know she will be just as spellbound listening to the raspy, bluesy voice of Harry and his “mysticssippi” flavour.”  One of his songs he sang was a well know Springsteen Tune, who if you didn’t realize who was singing could be the man himself.  Harry told of the day he played his first Bruce Springsteen hit he briefly rehearsed to what he thought was to be a small audience of less than 50 people in New York City.  It turned out to be over 5000 people, including Bruce Springsteen himself in the front row!  Check out the link below to see hear him play part of the the tune.

Harry, a Canadian musician who hails from Isle Of Man and now resides in Western Canada with his wife and son when not on tour.  He talked about living in India and studying for five years alongside,  

It was a very intimate evening and Harry spoke with the audience as if we where all in his living room and he was playing for a select few.  What a privilege to listen to this man, and I will be at his next concert when he returns to the Royal City.  Love you Harry Manx, thank you for your beautiful soul and for stirring my soul!

Here is a link of Harry playing,

Talk soon ~


Local Eats & Great Hangouts



Welcome to the first installment of a new feature highlighting LOCAL EATS AND GREAT HANGOUTS!  I think we will call it “GET YOUR NOM NOM ON with Arctic Dingo.” 

Arctic Dingo is a very chilled Aussie who (not pictured here!!!).  Local resident for 6 years, he chased a local Elora lass and settled down here in Fergus.  He has 30 years in hospitality, absolutely loves good food and loves to give a shout out to innovative, passionate, hardworking community minded local businesses.


Arctic Dingo’s First Time visiting Savoy Culinary 

There’s a new guy in town…… Savoy Culinary so I went nd said G’day to Brodie Sorbara. I’d been on a shovel all morning and was pretty bloody hungry. The carnivore in me was happy with the lunch menu…..lamb, brisket or burger. I went with the AAA rib eye burger and house cut fries. It was $18 and I really don’t have a problem paying for quality. I got mine to take out and thought I’d munch some fries on the way home. The serving didn’t last the 8 minute drive home. The serving could’ve been twice as large and not survived the journey. Hand cut fries longer and thicker than my fingers, golden crispy and creamy centers…..seasoned and salted. That left me with the burger. 8oz of bliss. Just nom nom nom. Not trying to be anything but a simple, tasty, cheesy burger that is bang on. I’m not hungry anymore. May 26 is the grand opening and chef says he’s gone old school bbq which by today’s sample should be amazing and by golly, by jingo by crikey I’ll be there!!



My Night at The Ghost Island Light

Ghost-Island-Index-WEB500lighthouse photos

Are all Lighthouses haunted?  Remember to “Keep the light on always!”, warned Erin Ward a feisty character sometimes referred to as “normal folk”,  by the newly appointed apprentice Lighthouse keeper Brandon.  It was a night of intrigue, mystery, suspense and laughter all mixed into this must see new comic thriller written by Peter Colley, who was in attendance for the opening night.  He greeted the attendees with an intimate chat and answered a few questions from the audience.   

When the Port Dover Lighthouse Theatre approached him to write a play about a lighthouse, he didn’t hesitate as he had been carrying a story around for years with him, and could finally put pen to paper. His imagination stemmed from stories he had long thought about, with years living close to the water and looking out into the distance of the  lighthouse.  Welcome to “THE GHOST ISLAND LIGHT”!

The Guelph Little Theatre has been entertaining audiences since 1935.  Why would you want to stay home and watch TV with your cat on your lap; when you can watch a live performance and have an exciting night out on the town.  The opening Gala at the theatre was wonderful and as always full of surprises. 

A local artisan Tania, of Infinite Arts was commissioned to create a masterpiece replica Lighthouse with body paint on her lovely model.  Attendees got to see her work on her craft before, during and after the show.  Check out this interview on FB,

“The opening night of the Guelph Little Theatre’s show was more on the Comic side”, said Peter Colley as he shared with the attendees that the other 4 productions have all taken a slight twist on the endings including variations on the four main characters who might I say where all cast exceptionally well.

Kudos to the one of two directors whom I met briefly, the talented Pamela Niesiobedzki-Curtis who mentioned in passing only three days to paint and put together the set.  I would not believe that it only took that amount of time, as I felt like we were part of that lighthouse trying to keep the lights on.  I loved the lighting, sound and set design how they all came together to create a mysterious haunted lighthouse, including the large set of stairs required to reach the top.

My girlfriend Kate a fellow theatre lover, like myself commented how she couldn’t believe how quickly the night was going as we were having so much fun!  We had nudged each other more than once, with the many comic episodes of these four characters all sharing their time together, trying to keep the light shining at a haunted lighthouse. Is it haunted?  I am not saying you will have to see for yourself.

I highly recommend you go see this production while it is in town, playing only till April 21st.  You might want to bring a few extra bucks with you so you can purchase a drink at intermission and maybe a 50/50 ticket to support this wonderful organization.  Did I mention I was the big jackpot winner of the draw?  You could be a winner too, it is definitely a number 1 entertainment experience in Guelph!

Buy your tickets before they are sold out, here is the link for the Guelph Little Theatre,

Talk soon ~


The Ghost Island Light at the Guelph Little Theatre


Did you want to know a little secret about the Opening Night of the production, “The Ghost Island Light”, which is taking place at the Guelph Little Theatre on April 6th.  The famed playwright who reside’s in California, Peter Colley will be in attendance for the Gala evening performance. 

Since we are sharing secrets, here is another little secret I will let you know about, is that this Wandering Wellington County will be having its first CONTEST, to give a pair of tickets away to one of THE GHOST ISLAND LIGHT, performances.  The third secret is that we may be able to interview the playwright on the evening of the Gala, (just maybe if we are lucky).

If you cannot wait any longer to know a little bit more about this great upcoming play.  Tickets will sell out quickly so be sure to purchase yours today!

Guelph Little Theatre presents The Ghost Island Light
Director: Pamela Niesiobedzki-Curtis & Jayne Simpson

Ghost Island Light is renowned Canadian Playwright Peter Colley’s brand new comedic thriller. You will experience sitting on the edge of your seat moments, interspersed with funny comedic flashes right to the unexpected twist at the end. And while this circa 1910 lighthouse is stuck on a barren rock island with cramped quarters for an older inexperienced keeper, his beautiful young wife and his charming assistant, you will vividly experience thrills and flashbacks to an age gone by.

The eerie sounds of broken organ pipes, thrashing waves upon this thin wooden structure, the haunting beauty of riverboats carrying debutants along a foggy but rocky coast, will instill terror in your heart with the fear that the ever-present stream of light will go out.

Oh please let us hear those loud resonating sounds of the equipment necessary to ensure the light stays on. It must stay on. There are evil spirits lurking in the shadows, definitely haunting this light….and the seagulls scream outside. Do you dare venture forth to experience these thrill at the Ghost Island Light?


See you at the performance!

Talk soon  ~






An Evening with Norman Liota at Café Creperie, ELORA



Have you ever heard a musician and the next day you are still replaying their music in your head?  The power of music certainly evokes intense emotions and stirs the soul.  How beautifully haunting the sounds of Norman Liota; when he played one of his original composed songs last evening.  It was an intimate evening at the cozy, Café Creperie, downtown Elora.

Norman shared with us some of his fond memories of his travels in Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and Deadwood in South Dakota, the song he played called “Through the Hidden Door”, was one of my favorites of the night.  He described to us, his inspiration of the song, came from an interesting day he had spent in the company of a 74-year-old good friend, who shared with him the sacred legends.  Chills were sent thru my body as he sang the song, accompanied with a combination of unique musical bells and chimes. 

I was mesmerized, as I think most of the room was as I looked around.  I felt like I had been transported to the Village in South Dakota with him that night to hear the legends,  played for only a select few.   Oh the power of music certainly evokes emotions and stirs the soul.

I had the privilege of being invited by a very good friend of Norman’s to watch his performance at the Café Creperie, on Mill Street in Elora.  Norman truly lives close to the earth and his passion shines in his musical performance.

My girlfriend invited me several weeks ago and told me we had a reservation for 7pm.  I had heard Norman many years before and hardly recognized him as he had much longer hair at the time.  This was one of his trademark looks that I fondly remembered of this gentle soul when I had met him last. Here is a YouTube video of him with the long locks singing Blackbird.

The lovely waitress who was helping out for this special event, asked what we had wanted to eat.  I had already ate, not realizing that my Girlfriend and I had a dinner date.  I just thought we had a cocktails type of evening with Norman.  The  cafe smelled of savoury and sweet yummy entrees.  If you get the chance you must check out their famous Crepes, at Café Creperie.  A wonderful little café on Mill Street, with a view of the Grand River in the heart of Elora. 

One of the owners, Kathy performed with Norman for the last encore performance last night.  They host many wonderful community artisan works and host many talented local musicians.  The cover for the evening was only $5.00 and it was worth every penny, thanks neighbour for a wonderful night out.  Check out their performance together with the link to the Wandering Wellington FB link.

I purchased a gift certificate for this lovely little café at the end of the evening,  as I plan to take my daughter Meaghan there for a little Parisian Crepe luncheon or dinner experience.  Perhaps I will take her there for a dinner date to hear one of the next performers on a Saturday night.  She had wanted to come with my last night, as she has been there with her French Class before, for a French experience in our little Village.  Just one of the reasons I love living in this community is the local community is so supportive of one another and has so much to offer.

If you are looking for a professional Classical Guitarist, composer and vocalist, here is the link,  He is simply a wonderful soul-stirring musician who is available for local weddings, concerts and special events. Echo Magazine describes Norman Liota as, ” a real virtuoso”. 

Talk soon ~