Spread the word about Canadian show
By Casey Lessard
The word of mouth is spreading for Sorry… I’m Canadian, playing until July 12 at the Huron Country Playhouse. The show is a tribute to Canadiana, featuring Canadian jokes by Neil Aitchison, Canadian music by the K-9 Four and step dancing by the Ballagh Bunch.
“People go out of here feeling so good, and they tell their friends,” Aitchison said opening night. “Yesterday we sold 300 tickets by word of mouth from the preview. Normally you sell 40-50 a day.”
It’s Aitchison’s first time performing on the Playhouse stage, although he has opened many shows over the years. Audiences will remember some of the musicians, however, including the talented Danny Williams, who performed in Twist & Shout and Legends.
“In this one, I get to play some instruments,” says Williams, whose He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother and Bridge Over Troubled Waters from the previous shows, and Break It To Them Gently from this show, are hard to forget. “That’s the attraction for me: singing the songs with an actual band. You have to find the integrity a real band would have and then after the run, you go and do your own thing.”
Williams recently recorded an album of hits from Twist & Shout and Legends called Sixties Sessions, which tops the charts at the University of Waterloo campus radio station. Williams sells copies of the CD at the theatre.
“They’re all huge number one songs from the British Invasion, and one from America. I’ve always wanted to do it, and Alex Mustakas was the executive producer on it; it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
But the music isn’t the only reason to see the show.
“The humour is unbelievable,” Williams says. “Neil has us cracking up on stage, and it’s not even a matter of having to act up there; he’s so naturally funny. With the great Canadian music and the dancing, it’s a ‘can’t miss’ show.”
The Ballagh Bunch is a group of four children from the Ballagh family: Devan, 17, Michael, 15, Paige, 13, and Matthew, 8. Mom Janice – who was raised dancing with her sisters – joins in, too.
“She started me teaching me dance when I was four,” Devan says. “Michael started when he was five, and Paige started when she was three. When we got the call to do Canadian Loonie in St. Jacobs, we put a group together with the three of us.” (Matthew joins in, too.)
The show is a tribute to the best of Canada, and Williams knows the benefits of being Canadian.
“As you go around this world, it’s true that people say Canadians are unique,” he says. “As soon as people find out you’re Canadian, you’re treated with a little more favourability.”
Director Alex Mustakas thinks we as Canadians have to embrace our unique history and culture.
“We should feel proud of our heritage, where we are and where we’re heading.”
Sorry… I’m Canadian runs until July 12. For tickets, call 519-238-6000 or visit http://www.huroncountryplayhouse.com.