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FRED EAGLESMITH SHOW JUNE 12, 2015

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FRED EAGLESMITH SHOW JUNE 12,...

On Friday June 12 the constantly traveling Fred Eagesmith Show made a stop at the Sarnia Library Auditorium and Cheeky Monkey played a (small) part in making it happen. The night kicked off at 8PM sharp with a too brief set by Eaglesmith band member Tif Ginn. The singer/multi instrumentalist with a huge voice and commanding stage presence could easily headline her own shows. Hailing from South Texas, her set featured a modern/retro sound and her charming southern accent was perfect for songs like the standout of the set Little White Pills. Following a short intermission - giving everyone a chance to peruse the extensive merchandise stand,  the star of the evening, Fred Eaglesmith sauntered out onto the stage. He kicked off the set with I Like Trains, a song from his 1996 album Drive In Movie and followed with I Pray Now a song from Tinderbox. Tinderbox is one of his ...

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Live music at & around Cheeky Monkey on ArtWalk weekend

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Live music at & around...

ArtWalk has become THE EVENT of the year in the downtown Sarnia. Before it officially begins, you can feel the excitement in the air. Along with the stores bringing some of their wares outside and all the booths filled with colurful, unique crafts and arts, there are delectable smells all around. Add to that the music and you have one heck of a wonderful festival. At Cheeky Monkey, outside we had our annual sidewalk sale of used CD's & DVD's in addition to our 'craftier side' showing with bowls we make from too scratched to sell vinyl records and hand knitted baby blankets by Roland's Mom Angela. All these items are available year round - but having them outside during ArtWalk attracts a whole new audience. Music, either recorded or live is an important element to Cheeky Monkey - for obvious reasons. Without much time to plan, we were thrown the ...

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Theatre Sarnia ‘Spamalot’ – Review by...

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Theatre Sarnia ‘Spamalot...

Monty Python's Spamalot as presented by Theatre Sarnia @ Imperial Theatre runs until May 24. Contact the theatre for details. Theatre Sarnia: Spamalot May 2015 by Brian Hay Where to start on this one? The "Knights" of the Round Table were cast and played to perfection. Phil Bedard and Craig Gander's performances as 'Sir Belvedere' and 'Sir Bors' were the most straight-laced character portrayals of the lot and they balanced the absurdities displayed by the rest nicely. Shawn Chapman imbued 'Sir Galahad' with a balanced mix of debonair charm and self-effacing piety. Adam Hobbs injected the most purely comic role of 'Sir Robin' with flair worthy of the source material. Cian Poore blended 'Lancelot's' machismo with the character's "sensitive side" beautifully and Shane Davis gave a brilliantly deadpanned performance as the regal (but moronic) 'Arthur'. The supporting players were superb as well. Ian Alexander combined shrewd intelligence with a doltish perona to make the ...

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Putnam County Spelling Bee review by BRIAN HAY

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Putnam County Spelling Bee...

DIVERSION Entertainment's Production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Exquisitely Unlike Any Other Theatrical Experience by Brian Hay It must be a talent John Leverre has because he keeps finding things that are like that. 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' is so good it's a wonder there's not more productions of it. It's also so strange the first impulse is to go back again if only to make sure it wasn't a dream. 'Altar Boyz' was like that too, but completely different from the "Spelling Bee". However he does it, it's safe to say playwright Rachel Sheinkin's and composer William Finn's creation is completely, and exquisitely, outside the box. The cast and crew execute this marvel beautifully. Music Director Sara Joy's handling of the material is inspired and impeccable. The ensemble consisting of percussionist Harlan Braichet, reed player Frank Brennan, cellist Marcia Case and band leader, pianist Madeline Vrolyk, again establish ...

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Clean House as Reviewed by Brian Hay

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Clean House as Reviewed by...

Theatre Sarnia: The Clean House January — February 2015 Thoughtful and Thoroughly Captivating Live Theatre by Brian Hay One of the highlights of this production is periods of one-on-one interaction between and Henri Canino. These two ladies are literally pillars for live theatre in Sarnia and it showed. The electricity between them crackled with a life of its own whenever the onstage banter went back and forth between them specifically. The entire cast was stellar. Megan Hadley's portrayal of the driven and deeply repressed 'Lane' depicted a woman so completely locked within her facade of composure that she was literally fighting herself to escape. Henri Canino's depiction of 'Virginia was of repression rooted in feelings of being suppressed by external sources, hence the ongoing flits of physical gestures that often contradicted her verbal statements. She captured the sense of "not being able to control those" beautifully. Jay Peckham made the character of 'Charles' completely ...

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1st First Friday of 2015 with Erika & Sara & The...

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1st First Friday of 2015 with...

Erika and Sara and The Guys Live at the Cheeky Monkey for Sarnia's January 2015 First Friday Celebration Saturday January 3, 2015 by Brian Hay There was a number of things noticeable right off the bat. The most striking was the effortlessness with which singer Erika Sit projected her voice. It was obvious through all areas of her range and served her well, especially for the material they've added to their set. More on that after a few other notes. Their sound system, which they set up themselves this time had, by far, the best balance they've achieved since they began working with bassist Scott Vegh and drummer Gerry Hawley last summer. With Hawley's kit not miked and him being able to play energetically while holding back everything came through with pristine clarity. The internal dynamic between the players has arrived in an area of delicious harmony as well. Sara Campbell, always a strong ...

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1st Annual Rock & Roll Christmas Concert Review

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1st Annual Rock & Roll...

The First Annual Rock and Roll Christmas Concert: Sold Out, Rocking and Fun! How Cool is That! Sunday December 21, 2014 by Brian Hay With power drummer Andy Hardman and bassist Frank Seager at its core the Jingle Band combined the force of a charging Rhino with an ability to step back and let subtleties in the softer arrangements be dominant. Pianist Dan Sonier, violinist Caitlin Mason, saxophone and clarinet player Chris Molyneaux rounded out the core while David Chaulk played (mostly) rhythm guitar and Chris Joyce took the bulk of the lead work. Most of the players picked up their instruments at various times. The show opened with Doug Stewart soaring through "Rudolph" with minimal accompaniment before shifting gears with a driving full band performance of "White Christmas" sung by Denise Chaulk. Stewart's and Erika Sit's rendition of "Run, Run Rudolph" settled things back down. MC's David Burrows of "The Show" and Fox ...

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december Live Music Cafe review by Brian Hay

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december Live Music Cafe...

Live Music Cafe December 2014: Christmas Favourites With The Sisters of Soul "Hi Santa" — The Magic of the Season in Full Bloom with The Sisters of Soul by Brian Hay Being greeted by Fran Schweitzer wearing her pyjamas and a Santa cap sent the message this was informal fun. They even passed out candy canes. It was enough to make a person wonder if they missed a few weeks and it was already Christmas morning. It wasn't, but they had their audience laughing, and in the mood before the music started. When it did, with a rocking take on 'Good King Wenceslas', a lot of emotional glasses that began the evening half full or less, were suddenly brimming over. This might have been the Christmas morning all hope for but won't be had by some. More on that in a bit. Fran said before the music started that there might be a few ...

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Theatre Sarnia “A Christmas Carol” review by...

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Theatre Sarnia “A...

Saturday November 22, 2014 Moving and Often Funny Production Hits All The Right Marks by Brian Hay Theatre Sarnia's production of the Charles Dickens' classic, 'A Christmas Carol' features impressive concept work some fine choreography that's capped by a moving and, at times, fine comic performance by Joe Agocs. The long time veteran established his versatility ages ago but continues to impress with layers he brings to characterizations. The nuggets in this production don't end there though. The set, designed by Director Anthony Fracalanza, Kristen Lannan and Emily MacDonald, was comprised of numerous small to mid sized pieces geared toward functionality and ease of movement. It allowed the varied scenarios involved in the narrative to shift into place with the fluidity needed to suggest either dream sequences or the presence of a supernatural element. Using the ensemble to perform choral numbers in the production while the most complex backdrops were being changed kept attention ...

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Brian Hay Review of November First Friday and more

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Brian Hay Review of November...

Downtown Sarnia First Friday and more by Brian Hay The abundance of talented people in Sarnia who work hard and who like to go out and work means there's rarely a shortage of events worth looking at. The First Friday celebration inevitably offers an abundance of choices and this one was no exception. Here's the rundown on how a few of the events came off. Deja Voodoo Live at the Cheeky Monkey The Cheeky Monkey featured 'Deja Voodoo', an ensemble consisting of and singer/ throat harp player Matt Berube, bassist Jeff Murphy, drummer Guy Bastien Jr. and guitarist Pete Michieli. All of them have been playing for ages, know their way around working in ensembles, and understand the importance of setting up the sound. For their first show (which Matt half-jokingly referred to as "three years in the making) their feel for that facet paid off in spades. From the start it was obvious the ...

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