By Shannon Poirier
The 1997 Cape Breton Summertime Revue opened its three-night run in Halifax to a packed house. We were treated to a full evening of side-splitting humour and fantastic music.
The show opened with Maynard Morrison in character, complaining that he didn’t have a job. He explained that you needed college for most jobs and that he had failed every question on the entrance exam but one. The punch-line proved his point.
This gave way to a fabulous fiddle set by Howie MacDonald and eighteen-year old Lisa MacIsaac, including “Christy Campbell” and “Drunken Landlady”. Throughout the show, Lisa also wowed the crowd with her step-dancing and Howie showed us there’s nothing he won’t try. He was hilarious as the host of Cape Breton’s version of The Dating Game, “Better Than Nothing”. The crowd also got a kick when, during another sketch, he broke into a drunken version of “Oran Luadhaidh (Fail Il E)”.
The comedy was interspersed with strong and poignant ballads, with great vocals by show newcomer Julie Martell, and 1995 cast-member Maura Lea Morykot. Gordie Sampson delivered a moving piece, “Joseph”, which he co-wrote with Bruce Guthro. Revue alumnus Matt Minglewood was a special guest performing a couple of numbers.
Gordie Sampson is one talented fellow. He sang, played acoustic and electric guitars, fiddle and keyboards, and even contributed to the comedy writing. Sampson, who accompanied The Rankin Family on their recent U.S. tour, is also the Musical Director of this year’s Revue.
The second act opened with “She The Ocean”, a concert favourite of mine by the Barra MacNeils. The highlight of the second act had to be Maynard Morrison’s hilarious parody of Alanis Morrisette’s “One Hand in my Pocket”. He had decided , since he couldn’t get any other job, that he would try songwriting. His version of this hit includes lyrics such as: “I suck but I’m lucky / I’m better than Minglewood (and that, eh) / I’m taller than Raylene Rankin / and what it all comes down to / is everything’s gonna be good dear, good.”
The finale featured Gordie Sampson on lead vocals again, on a surprising rockish version of “Purple Heather”. All in all, a wonderful show. I’m looking forward to next year already.