Review by Terry McMetter & Danny O’Gaisin
Mississauga possesses a remarkably informal yet diversionary example of community ethos that offers an eclectic variety of vocal music. The soloists and combined voices of Windmill Theatre have something besides melodic talent; they obviously enjoy doing what they so ably can do. Their palpable pleasure in offering up each selection is mirrored in the enjoyment experienced by their audience. This weekend’s performances are titled ‘Tartan Joy’ and it certainly is!
To feature some of the traditional music of Scotland & Ireland at this particular time is serendipitous given that Robbie Burns day was less than 2 weeks ago, while St. Patrick’s just over a month away. Windmill’s concerts at the Unitarian Church on South Service Road are cabaret style, with complimentary pop & snacks on each table. Alas, no Haggis, but lots of ‘Bonnie’ and numerous mentions of heather – including a real-live ‘Heather’.
The informality of the evening lends itself to casual sotto voce chorus sing-alongs especially noticeable during Jason Hale’s rendition of his ‘Galway Girl’, and again during the ‘Loch Lomond’ refrain which ended the first act. This arrangement was performed in a delicate & innovative rondo format. The four-piece orchestral accompaniment rendered two instrumental pieces and an especially conspicuous introduction to ‘Red Red Rose’ by flautist Amy O’Neill. The post-interval offered the Weatherly rather than Grainger lyrics to ‘Danny Boy’ and Justin Bacchus had a faultless Brogue. The rendition of ‘Scotland the Brave’ was sung by a kilted Kevin Baker andantino rather than the usual moderato, thus imbuing the piece with an effective solemnity. The Church and Windmill held a display of artwork in the lobby and hall painted by a Burlington artist. This made the interval period also a visible treat. Each display was purchasable.
It took us a few seconds to appreciate the humor in Brian Pritchard’s short monologue about a traffic cop; pedestrians and the Roman Catholic Church. Sorry for the slow pick-up, Brian… blame it on our being Jewish! Windmill’s next concerts – May 1st & 2nd.
**Editorial note**: – one of our regular columnists recently attended the Mike Evin gig at The Staircase. But his review was so unenthusiastic that we decided it was better not to publish the article rather than criticize the performers and their individual efforts.