(photo: Pam Bernard)

The inside story

Interview with Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines

by Ann Thurlow

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A visit to the Island Summer Review has become an Island tradition. It stars Patrick Ledwell and Mark Haines. It’s witty, it’s moving, it’s musical. And every year it’s a whole new show. Ann Thurlow went looking for a sneak peek.

AT: You two have enjoyed a long and successful collaboration. Why do you work so well together?

Mark Haines: Patrick has great spark, he’s fast on his feet and fires off ideas all the time. I have years of musical experience, playing a variety styles and have developed a sizable repertoire. Patrick will say, “I’d like to do this,” I run to my internal reference library pull out what I’ve got that will work with his idea and before you know it a new bit takes shape.

Patrick Ledwell: When Mark and I were both in the show “Come All Ye,” Mark would give me a ride home. We had two summers of great, ten minute conversations, about music, performance, and things that make audiences feel happy. And that’s still what it’s about, I think. We enjoy talking to each other, getting a laugh, and spending time finding what parts of the conversation will lift other people up, too.

AT: Can you give me an example or two of bits you’ve done that came from that collaboration?

PL: Mark’s written an original, upbeat love song to PEI. That inspired me think about how love for a place changes over time, and how you find yourself sort of married to it, in a way. So I wrote a long term love letter to the Island that has more difficulty staying in a single mood, to say the least.

MH: Patrick has been working on a story about his family house and how his history with it has been marked by certain songs. One of the songs I have had in my repertoire for years but the nature of the story gave me cause to look at it differently creating a new and unique arrangement.

AT: Your work has been called observational humour. What have you observed this year that has tickled your fancy?

PL: Every day there’s a new story on the Island, whether 100% news or not. One day, a molasses spill. Another day, we may or may not be getting an International Houses of Pancakes, in the not-clear future. I spend time trying to fit these puzzle pieces together, while I’m waiting at the checkout at the Sobeys.

MH: I have read about Islander’s concerns in the paper: water issues, the recent election, marijuana legalization and health of the land and the air and somehow they all got referenced in one song.

AT: But it’s not all funny, right?

MH: It’s true. Over the years our faithful audiences have come to know that along with knee slap belly laughs there will also be some thoughtful reflective moments. They may not always know where The Island Summer Review will take them but they always seem willing to get on board and go.

AT:. What would, for each of you, be the “wait for it” moment in this year’s show?

MH: There are some song choices this year that I believe will have people saying, “Well I didn’t think I’d be hearing that one tonight!”

PL: I’m waiting for the very end of the show. Not like I want it to be over, no. We’re trying to travel to a newer place there, and with some heart-in-throat, hope audiences will want to come along with us. See you there.

The Island Summer Review opens July 4. The show runs three nights a week, each Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night at 8 pm to August 30.

harmonyhousetheatre.com, 1-888-311-9090

Ann Thurlow