Ladies make sure you're wearing your Poise Pads because you'll pee your pants.If you're expecting to see a rip-off of the "Momma Mia" musical, forget it. This is the Newfoundland and Labrador version of ABBA and no one can do it like Spirit of Newfoundland.
It's brilliantly written by Peter Halley and Deborah Wells-Smith. It's ABBA with a Island spin and the talent is phenomenal!It stars Peter Halley, Darrin Martin, Shelley Neville and Robyn Sears with a multi-talented backup band and five-star meal to boot.
Peter Halley!!! I loves Peter Halley! Couldn't you just kiss the face right off that? If Peter Halley sat beside me in high school, (I would have failed) I would have been sent to the principal's office every day because he would have made me laugh until I got the strap from Sister Crotty. He's a multi-talented singer, dancer and actor. Not to mention cute as a seal pup. I mean if Hollywood is casting for the lead in Fifty Shades of Gray then I hope they're considering Peter for the lead role of Christian Gray (not that I read that smut), if not for the Empire Theatre version, then at least for the internet version that we'll all have to download later on. Peter is the Artistic Director of Spirit of Newfoundland and really one of the province's leading talents. Did I mention, I loves Peter Halley!Now, you can accuse me of being a little biased when it comes to Darrin Martin. He is my daughter's vocal coach at Rock City. In two years he took my daughter from singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to standing on stage with a full, live rock band singing The Beatles "Let It Be." I truly cried when I heard her. Darrin is an amazing talent in his own right. I've often heard him singing with my daughter while I was waiting for her outside the rehearsal room but never really appreciated his true talent until I heard him sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in Spirit of Newfoundland Show's "Simon and Garfunkel." I literally sat there with my mouth open thinking "This is the my daughters' vocal coach? How lucky am I?" He has recently released a new album of original music entitled "In My Lifetime" which local radio stations should be playing. Darrin is also the lead singer of the local cover band 709. He has his own web site at http://www.darrinmartin.vze.com/ (In the picture: Shelley Neville and Darrin Martin pose with my daughter and her friend after the show.
I just out and out love Shelley Neville. She made me laugh and cry in the Spirit of Newfoundland's "Patsy Cline" show. She really sends chills down my spine when she sings. I mean this lady could sing the St. John's phone book and you wouldn't even get up to pee when she got to the ten pages of Murphys. I know she is a music teacher at a school in St. John's but I don't know which one, mainly because of the new stalking laws but if I did, I would sell my house and move to her district. If you have a child who is lucky enough to have her as a music teacher I hope you don't waste your energy on silly things like math and science. Holly crap! You have Shelley Neville for a music teacher!!! Force the kid to join choir! Shelley not only has her Bachelor of Music Education from MUN but she has studied at the Opera Division (Honours) of the University of Toronto where she also completed an Artist Diploma (Again Honours) in Voice and received the Most Distinguished Graduate Award. She has her Masters in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from MUN. So unless you have Einstein teaching your kid science I strongly suggest you get them in the music program at Shelley's school.This is the second time I've seen Robyn Sears perform with the group. I saw her in Nunsense and loved it. She was hysterical in her Nun's habit. Robyn Sears has an amazing voice, is funny as hell, has the face of a Barbie Doll, a size "0" body and legs that are two miles long. In case you don't already hate her, she's a natural blond (I know because she didn't have skunk-head - the dark roots with the blond ends). After hearing her sing in this show, I now know why the brunette hated the blond in ABBA. She certainly holds her own. Her banter back and forth with Peter had perfect timing and wit. Anyone who can keep up with Peter like that has to have a natural talent. Did I mention, I loves Peter Halley?
Behind this amazing line-up is a wonderful band. Really! It's part of the "Wonderful Grand Band!" Playing drums is Paul (Boomer) Stamp and on guitar is Sandy Morris, original members of the legendary "Wonderful Grand Band." I was sitting in the audience wondering if those watching realized part of the Wonderful Grand Band was backing up these performers. Seriously, that's like going to Winnipeg to see a dinner theatre and having the "Guess Who" play the background music! But I have to admit I never thought I'd see Sandy Morris or Boomer play "Dancing Queen" in my lifetime. It shows how great they really are.The food is excellent. We had the salmon dish and loved it. Hubby is trying to Google the recipe as I type. I hope he finds it. You won't leave hungry.
This is an excellent night out. We brought our 12-year-old daughter and her best friend. The show was appropriate for all ages. When you hear Peter sing "Take Your Teeth Out Nan Tell Me What's Wrong" you'll never be able to listen to "Chiquita" again without singing his lyrics. Did I mention I loves Peter Halley?If you're wondering, Spirit of Newfoundland does not pay me to write articles for them (and no performers were harmed in the writing of this blog). I just feel as a Newfoundlander we have an obligation to promote our own world-class talent when we can. So no, they didn't write me a cheque but if they did want to thank me, well, did I mention, I loves Peter Halley!