Category Archives: El’s Word

Missing playing music

It is quite amazing how quickly time passes and how one can realize it has been ages since picking up a guitar or hitting a drum or even singing a single note. It is also equally amazing how just picking up an instrument and pouring out your heart into song can heal the lethargic soul.  It can make you believe in the power of yourself and help you trust your instincts. Not to mention it can simply make you smile. And a smile can be a powerful thing in a world filled with indifference.

Ellen was just in A Christmas Carol. Check out the review


December 2013
A Spirited Production
A Christmas Carol
Mini-review by Sean McQuaid

Homburg Theatre, Confederation Centre of the Arts


Charles Dickens’ evergreen 1843 novella A Christmas Carol has been adapted endlessly in various media, including this stage musical penned by revered Charlottetown Festival founder Mavor Moore for Vancouver’s Carousel Theatre in 1988.


Mean, miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Wade Lynch) despises mankind in general and Christmas in particular until the ghost of his dead partner Jacob Marley (Justin Simard) gives him an overdue crash course in human decency, aided by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future (played by Renae Perry, Bruce Cummins and Connor Sharpe, respectively).


Lynch portrays the darker aspects of Scrooge’s character capably enough but shines whenever he finds the humour in the role, sometimes in unexpected places; lines that might read less than hilarious on paper become side-splittingly comical courtesy of Lynch’s expert delivery.

Simard is great undead fun as Marley, but the whiplash-inducing tonal shifts of Perry’s Past ghost feel like two entirely different characters stapled together, while Cummins’ Present ghost is a more coherent but also more pedestrian take on that particular spirit, not especially distinctive.

Other notables include a winningly sympathetic Stephen MacDougall as Scrooge’s long-suffering employee Cratchit, a charming Cameron Cassidy as Scrooge’s lost love Belle, and adroit comedic duo Olivia Barnes & Ellen Carol as cynical servants Dilber & Dobbs.


Limitations of time and space mean I literally can’t say enough good things about Charles Dickens’ original story – wise, funny, spooky, clever, inventive and imbued with a timeless sense of social conscience that makes this classic as invaluably instructive as it is entertaining – and Moore’s adaptation preserves most of the tale’s essentials. The original songs are pleasant albeit seldom memorable, and generally well-executed by director Liz Gilroy and her cast.


For every sequence that soars (like Simard’s bravura fireplace entrance), there are others that land with a thud (like the almost comically anticlimactic revelation of Ignorance and Want huddled beneath Cummins’ robe) or fall tantalizingly short of full success (the Ghost of Christmas Future’s gliding, mist-shrouded entrance works wonderfully until the fog lifts just enough to reveal the wheeled dolly beneath his feet). It all adds up to a spirited and appealing but ultimately uneven take on the Dickens classic.


Ye olde reviewer’s songbird sister Monica Rafuse appears here as Mrs. Fezziwig (and quite effectively at that), so this review is obviously haunted by The Ghost of Christmas Conflict. Factor that into your reading accordingly.

The music keeps pouring out

We three have been on a writing and recording bender in the past 8 months. It has been an interesting process as quite a bit of it was done online. But being this is a new age driven by techknowledgey we jumped on that band wagon willingly. Trying on new tunes and restyling a few oldies but goodies we have come to pick out the best 13 of the bunch. The result you ask… is our new cd that is scheduled to be released in September 2013. Keith currently has the mixing reins and is reeling in the wild horses a little. (but not too much) We are extremely excited to share with you all the product of our musical mayhem.

Just curious… Who else out there has jammed at Micky’s house

Ellen plays at Micky Mouse's house