Well, we’re a couple months behind…(Our 10th anniversary season has been BY FAR our busiest yet) but we thought it was high time to post some of the incredible reviews we received for our recent touring production of HASTINGS! The Musical! This show played at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft, the Studio Theatre in Perth, and the Empire Theatre in Belleville to SOLD OUT houses, standing ovations, and rave reviews across the board! Read on below for some of the incredible press and word of mouth from this summer’s production, and stay tuned for more to come from HASTINGS! The Musical!
HASTINGS! ON TOUR 2018 REVIEWS:
“If you want to know what joy looks like – this show is it.”
-Barbara Shaw, Now Plan B
“Totally enjoyed opening night of Hastings the Musical at the Village Playhouse. Very energetic, humorous and touching performance depicting our local history. Hurry and pick up your tickets, you won’t want to miss this.”
–Mary Kavanaugh, North Hastings Heritage
“Thanks! Fabulous show!! I really enjoyed it!”
“Congratulations. My friend and I enjoyed the play. Your hard work paid off. Here’s to a great run.”
“FRIENDS. I finally got to see Tweed & Company Theatre’s Hastings! The Musical Belleville and it was amazing!!!!!! Congrats Tim Porter, James R. King, and company! Happy Opening!!! HASTINGS! Is so good! Go see it!”
“How did opening night go for HASTINGS! The Musical? There were pirates, papers, ghosts, giggles, dancing, singing, love, harmony, humour and the packed house started their standing ovation before the finale even finished. Shows continue through August 11th. This is a HIT!”
-The Village Playhouse, Bancroft
“Just got to witness one of the most fantastic musicals that you’re ever gonna see anywhere. I’ve seen it more than once, and I tell ya, anyone who hasn’t seen it, you are going to be absolutely wowed by this musical. Locally written, produced and performed, it really is a fantastic show, you’re going to love it love it love it.“
–Mike Bossio, MP, Hastings-Lennox & Addington
“Awesome! I saw it last year as well, and I just couldn’t wait for it to open in Bancroft tonight, and I’ll probably be back again before the end of the run. Come on out and fill the playhouse, it’s a wonderful show, and Hospice is something we all have to support, so let’s pack the theatre every night for the rest of the run.”
–Vivian Bloom, Mayor
“We thought we had experienced everything this show has to offer, but even after seeing it six times in Tweed last summer, we fell in love all over again! The addition of Danielle Leger and Jessica Wilson to this already fantastically talented cast makes it fresh and funny in a whole new way! Love, love, love! We were singing all the way home. There’s gold in this show and its never getting old! We can’t wait to see it again in Perth and Belleville!”
-Mike Berwick and Melissa MacDonald
“I got to see the show last night and I could hardly sleep afterwards. The music was great, the stories hilarious and dramatic and the standing ovation started before the finale was done. It is an amazing show. And insider tip – we’ve had great pre-sales and today has been crazy so if you want to see this show – drop in to Vintage on Hastings and get some tickets soon!”
–Barbara Shaw, Now Plan B
“It was amazing!!”
“Saw it last night, it was awesome!”
“Awesome show people..don’t miss this one!!”
–Vivian Bloom, Mayor
“It was sooo awesome! Thank you so very much for blessing us with your gifts and talents!! My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed Hastings!! Very gifted cast! Outstanding”
“It was wonderful! Thank you!”
–Karen Vance Brown
“It was a pleasure to be in the Town of Bancroft last night at The Village Playhouse to see Hastings the Musical by Tweed & Company Theatre! This locally written and produced show is on tour this year in Bancroft, Perth, and Belleville. Do yourselves a big favour and go see it.”
-Mike Bossio, MP, Hastings-Lennox & Addington
“An enjoyable evening. To add to it, when I was walking to the theatre, 2 of my customers were crossing Hastings St. on their way to the play. When I entered the theatre, 4 more of my customers were at the theatre already. For you to mention me and my company during the introduction of the evening meant a lot to me since those folks were in attendance. Then the most important part…the play was great. I enjoyed every minute of it. Hope the rest of your season goes well, and I look forward to being part of your 2019 season.”
-George Offshack, Limerick Lake Lodge
“You guys rocked ‘Hastings: The Musical!’ In Bancroft tonight!”
“We really enjoyed the evening’s entertainment. It was fabulous darlings. The cast are so talented, truly a great performance.”
“Saw it tonight. Really fun. Loved the music.”
“Have already seen this in Tweed and hoping to get myself tickets again to see it in town, loved this one!! Awesome young theatrical group.”
“ You guys did it again!!! Rocked it!!!!”
“Great cast including Randolph grad Rachel Babor, and Trevor Patt (I taught him at GBD) Assoc Composer.
Wow what a network of talent!”
–Candice Helm, Quinte Ballet School
“That standing ovation was much deserved. Friends in Bancroft and Peterborough: you should definitely try to scoop up tickets to this musical. It’s got songs about *everything* — newspapers, feminism, political action, love…. “
-Ann Douglas, CBC radio, Canadian Author
“Brilliant! Well done!”
“Hastings The Musical in Bancroft – AKA Date Night
Parenting is this funny thing. No one ever warns you how tough it will be. Everyone prepares you for the sleepless nights with newborns, and they warn of teething and colic. No one warns you about the sleepless nights as they get older. The worry about who their friends are, knowing that you can no longer dictate who their friends are. Those are the sleepless nights, the ones that you now know you will not outgrow unlike the teething. When the kids were little, we would dream of the days when they were old enough and independent enough that we could have date nights without having to pay a sitter. The kids are now old enough and independent enough to watch themselves, and their little sister. The problem lies now in that they are older and so independent that they have lives. Date nights do not happen as often as we would like, but that seems to make them all the more special. The rare times that we are able to indulge in date night, it is always worth it, and last night was no exception.
Last night Christopher and I traveled to the town of Bancroft, Ontario to see Hastings the Musical.
We had seen Hastings in it’s inaugural run at the Tweed Pavilion. It has been quite a privilege to watch Tweed and Company grow and just get better and better every single year. I am so proud to call Tim Porter a native of my home town, and to see him grow his fantastic vision of his theatre company. This season celebrates their 10th season, and this is quite an accomplishment. For those of you not in the know, this group of uber talented young performers not only performs plays, they write the scripts, original music, direct, create the sets and all of it original. They create a musical commentary on life in Canada.
We drove into Bancroft, not really knowing what to expect of the theatre. Bancroft is a picturesque town that explodes with cottagers during the summer months. The town itself boasts many cottage related quaint stores, and restaurants (although they can boast not one, but two Tim Hortons Coffee Shops). We pulled up to the theatre, and it looked like it had been transported from a rural mountain village in Germany or Switzerland. The bright red paint on the outside draws you in, and makes you want to explore.
On the porch as we entered we saw Tim. His face exploded into a massive smile of recognition. There is something to be said for that kind of a beautiful welcome. That familiar face, told me right then and there that we were in for a wonderful night. He politely left his conversation and came over to greet us with a big hug. Through the doors the bright red beckoned us forward, encouraged us to explore. My eyes danced around, trying to take everything in. We climbed up a narrow staircase, and I did not know what I would find as I climbed up to the top.
My jaw dropped as I came into the theatre. It was beautiful, like a warm retired rustic barn/ theatre. Stings of market lights, danced above us. It was beautiful, and I wanted to sit that little bit closer, love my husband just a little bit more. It was the setting you might expect to see in a romantic movie. That air of romance hung like a fragrance. We sat in anticipation of the play, but at the same time just happy to share the ambiance and each other’s company. As we sat, we were approached by a familiar face from the Tweed and Company (the people who don’t take the bows on stage, but who are integral part of making the company run). This warm, red haired lady asked if we could do a survey about our experience thus far, had we seen other performances? How likely would we come to see another Tweed and Company production? This one warm and welcoming team member told me (in actions not words)that The Tweed and Company Theatre had now outgrown their growing pains and were hungry for more growth. It struck me as such a smart and professional thing to do, conduct a survey. Don’t just assume that everyone thinks you’re great, work hard and be great!
As 7:30 drew near, I looked around the theatre. On opening night there were just a few empty seats. I felt a lump of pride in my throat. There were whispered conversations throughout the audience of people voicing their expectations. I sat an eavesdropped quietly, the pre-show buzz was good. The lights faded and an etherial blonde woman stood up at the front of the stage. She was personable and funny and introduced herself to the crowd, as Barb Shaw. She then went on to share with the audience what makes the theatre we were sitting in so much more impressive than I first thought. The Bancroft Village Playhouse is completely unique. It’s uniqueness comes not just from it’s appearance and charm, but in it’s internal beauty. The Bancroft Village Playhouse is a fundraising device for Hospice North Hastings. http://www.hospicenorthhastings.com
I dazzled at the stunning beauty of this theatre, the phrase “beautiful inside and out” comes to mind. On their website, Hospice North Hastings calls it “caring through culture”, and that is a beautiful notion. It subliminally confirms that hospice is not about dying, it’s about living and providing comfort. It is contributing to their community and allowing wonderful productions and movies to fill their cultural centre, all the while helping to ease suffering. It is such a beautiful arrangement.
For the next two hours I was transported back through history, the history of the place I call home. Again and again I was dumbstruck by the incredible talent of this cast. I say it almost every time I see a Tweed Theatre Company, but each and every cast member could easily hold their own in a Broadway production. As I watched I kept thinking “oh I must remember the name of this song so that I can point it out as my favourite”, the problem was that they were all my favourites. The set was beautiful and simple. The small amount of props did quadruple duty. To me The Tweed Theatre Company’s strongest talent is the vocal abilities that Tim picks out for his cast. The acoustics in the theatre were perfect and it felt like their voices drifted out from the stage and permeated into my very soul.
The production was so very much better this time around even from what I remembered it last year. The choreography, the set, the music, everything was better, more mature, better refined. The audience loved the production. Their clapping filled the theatre like thunder after each remarkable number. At first I wondered how they would ever be able to replace the role of Suzanna Moody that Tricia Black had made her own. How could anyone else find that same impeccable timing, that same huge stage presence, those where large shoes to fill. Danielle Leger apparently has exceptionally large feet, because those giant shoes that Tricia left behind appeared to have no wiggle room. The crowd only needed to see Danielle and began to chuckle and then erupt into great belly laughs, they could anticipate the punchline, and rolled with it.
The premise for the production is that of the ghosts of lovers who might have been but never were. It is a love story, but not just in the way that we think of romantic love stories. Hastings, is a love story about this place we live, about where Tim grew up. It is the love of our history and what a big part of our country’s history, our little rural community played. It is the love story of a small town boy who made his way into the world to pursue his dream of theatre. That small town boy put together a cast of talented fellow actors, who it is obvious over the ten year run have all become friends. It is the love of our country and making his mark on it’s theatre history. Hastings is a love story.
This week, go and do yourself a favour. Go, no matter the length of drive to Bancroft. Go early and look around that pretty town, bursting with transplanted holiday people. Go and feel yourself reeled in by that bright, happy, German looking building that is The Bancroft Village Playhouse. In this oppressive heatwave, go and enjoy the cool that draws you further into the red beauty. Spend that paltry $30 and be transported to the past. Drink in the homey atmosphere and delight in the simple yet brilliantly set for this play. Allow yourself to feel every single note of that beautifully crafted and impeccably executed music. Indulge in a glass of wine or beer (just one if you are driving). Feel blessed for this gift that you have. As your feel yourself coming back to your body at the end of this wonder performance, feel good about it. This is a tremendous gift that you have given not just to yourself. The gift to yourself is seeing this high caliber of performance in a beautiful rural setting, and have an indigent evening that didn’t break the bank. The second gift is the gift you have given to the Tweed and Company Theatre. Your support gives them not just financial gain, but it sends the message that their hundreds of hours of blood sweat and tears are worth every single second that they have lovingly given. It validates their pride in producing Canadian plays that are crafted by Canadians and for Canadians. Lastly you give the most beautiful gift to people that you may never know. You give the gift of love. You allow the dying dignity and those who love them permission to take a second to appreciate that loved one without the exhausting care for that person themselves. Giving to hospice is a beautiful gift that helps so many. Your beautiful evening out, that delightful glass of wine or beer, it all contributed to someone getting the palliative care that they very much need.
It is my favourite play that they have done to date
-Tristan Lindsay, The Next Chapter Blog
“Thoroughly enjoyed it! Great talents!”
“Really enjoyed. Fantastic talent on stage. Would love to go again.”
“It really looks like the Tweed & Company Theatre has a real hit on their hands. Last summer, they launched a new original program HASTINGS! A NEW MUSICAL! to rave reviews and sold out houses. . Now they have taken the show on the road to regional theatres this month.
The show, written by the Tweed & Company Ensemble with the assistance of the Hastings County Historical Society, is an hilarious, foot stomping, irreverent retelling of the History of Hastings County. It features music from several up and coming and established Canadian composers, coming from the Stratford Festival, The Second City, Toronto, some of them originally from right here in Hastings County
There is an incredible cast of nine talented performers, all of whom also play the instruments and create a stunning live band on stage. The cast and production team includes cast and co-composers Rachel Babor and James King; cast and co-writer Joel MacMeekin; lead composer and co-writer Tricia Black; director and co-writer, Tim Porter; cast and costume designer Amy Marie Wallace; sound designer Kaitlyn MacKinnon; Emily Mewett, stage and production manager; composers Andre Morin and Trevor Patt; with cast members Michael Colin Jones, Mike Lee,
Danielle Leger, Mark Lesage and Jessica Wilson.
The beautiful rustic set, costumes, and unique and exciting staging complete this theatrical experience. Here are just a few samples of the reviews: “An extraordinary panorama of song, dance and Hastings County history”, Inside Quinte “Incredible, it deserves to be re-staged throughout Hastings County” ; the Central Hastings News; Ontario Highlands tourism calls it “A truly remarkable show! I would see it ten times over if I could”; “In short the show was simply fantastic”, The Tweed News; and the Hastings County Wanderer states “It was hands down the most memorable theatre performance I have seen to date. The Storytelling…The Musicianship… The Humour: I honestly have not laughed that hard in quite some time. So go, now, quickly.”
The show is currently playing at The Village Playhouse in Bancroft until tomorrow then travels to the Studio Theatre in Perth, August 14 and 15, and The Empire Theatre in Belleville August 17 and 18. Tickets are just $30 for Adults and $20 for students. There are matinee and evening performance at each venue.
Tweed & Company Theatre is a creator and producer of original Canadian musical theatre, as well as quality professional grassroots regional theatre. The company formerly known as IANA Theatre, has been around since the fall of 2009, and has produced four large scale original Canadian musicals, as well as countless other Canadian and international productions. Tweed & Company is based in Tweed, ON, but also produces in Toronto, and has toured its productions around the province.”
-Carol Feeney, Quinte Arts Council
“Wednesday night performance was fabulous! Still laughing and humming along. Well Done!!“
“Such talented musicians! very impressed.”
“I was thrilled to attend Thursday’s matinee. Hastings the musical is jam packed with incredibly talented performers. Very entertaining on all levels. You should go!”
“Opening night was amazing!”
“Totally enjoyed opening night of Hastings the Musical, at the Village Playhouse. Very energetic, humorous and touching performance depicting our local history. Hurry and pick up your tickets, you won’t want to miss this.”
“Hope you make an effort to see this at The Village Playhouse……quality performance, music , acting……what else can I say….it was fantastic!!!! In town for a limited time!”
“Get your tickets as you will miss a great show!!”
“Versatile and Multi-talented cast of professionals.”
“Last night’s performance of HASTINGS! The Musical was a real treat! Both Bri and I adore live theatre, so when we found out that we’d be attending a performance at the nearly 100 year old Bancroft Village Playhouse we were ecstatic. The Bancroft Village Playhouse is a staple in the community, and it’s a place that gives back to the community in a number of ways. It’s aligned with several initiatives to support the surrounding community, but, more bluntly, it’s also a beacon of culture, where the town (and others) can come to be taken to another world, or another time.
That’s precisely the case with Tweed and Company’s production of “Hastings: The Musical,” which has finished its run now, but was widely celebrated. The story, recounting the birth of Hastings County, was just downright fun to watch unfold, and the cast had an unmistakable connection on stage which just made you want to root for them. I’ll be honest, I’m not really someone whose first choice for a performance would be a musical, but I’d listen to these guys sing all day. At the end, a standing ovation was a foregone conclusion, and both Bri and I were happy to be a part of that deserved celebration.
I’d certainly be happy to go back to the Bancroft Village Playhouse for another performance, it’s an intimate venue that makes you feel like you’re a part of the show, rather than a bystander in the audience. I can’t imagine there’s a better spot to catch a show in all of the Ontario Highlands.”
-Christopher James Mitchell, travelingmitch
“Saw the show on our way home from the cottage and I hope to see you again!”
“Your song about Hastings gave me chills. Voices are incredible, my wife and I cried!”
“I saw the show on opening night and was blown away by how incredible the cast of @tweedandcompany was We are going to come again in Belleville. Wish you had more shows, any chance of extension? My brother in law from Kingston would love to see it. New Home was my favourite number along with the country song and Susanna Moodie. A job well done.”
“Tonight I had the genuine pleasure of traveling to the beautifully rustic town of Bancroft to take in @tweedandcompany ‘s production of “Hastings: The Musical”. First and foremost- I have a deep respect for any person who performs theatre of any kind. It truly is the equivalent of walking a tight-rope. The intense focus, the energy expended, the blood, sweat and tears that are shed through hours upon hours of rehearsal…and then to perform without a chance for a re-take, without any editing; these guys and gals are artists of the highest calibre and that is certainly true for the cast of “Hastings: The Musical”.
Very briefly- the play brings to life through song, laughter and joy (and ale) various real life people and events that shaped the Hastings county and its towns that we know today. The actors all play various roles and adopt various accents (English, French, Irish, drunk) and not only do they all sing (and sing incredibly well!) they also perform the instruments! Guitar, violin, piano, you name it and they play these instruments flawlessly. What’s more, they play and sing while jumping off a table, hoping across chairs, even running into the aisleway. The entire house is transported back to a time when the living was tough, the people were tougher and the alcohol warmed all their souls. The 9 members of the cast each have their own moments to shine and they each pour their entire heart and soul into every note strummed, every word sung and every gesture expressed. You can’t help but be swept up by the sheer excitement, passion and joy that is exuded in the performance.
It is also absolutely hysterical! While some of the songs deal with heavy issues such as women’s rights and rebellion against the crown; the characters are so outlandish, so vivid, so ALIVE; and the lyrics are performed with just the right timing and nuance that’ll make you chuckle. And you never know what’ll happen, you may even receive a beer during the show! I did! It was so cool! The colourful characters, gorgeous harmonies, humour and heart will give you one of the best theatrical experiences you’ll ever have.”
“It was a fabulous show! First class in every way. Don’t miss it if you can still get tickets.”
“Absolutely fabulous show. Hats off to Hospice North Hastings for bringing this great musical to Bancroft. Loved it!!!”
–Lynn Carlson Neuman
“Last night, Lillian & Gary were off to support live theatre and Hospice North Hastings in Bancroft. Tweed & Co. Theatre have brought their highly anticipated production of ‘Hastings The Musical’ north of 7. We thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, full of energy, humour and history, all brought to life by an incredible multi-talented cast. True, there was not a lot about ‘Old Hastings Mercantile’ in this offering, but perhaps a future consideration! Congratulations to all involved!”
–The Old Hastings Mercantile & Gallery
“It’s excellent! Go see it! The cast members are VERY talented.”
“Absolutely Incredible Show!! We are so happy that we had the opportunity to get to know a few of you personally. It was a privilege to have you stay in our home and to have witnessed such amazing talent from each and everyone of you!”
-Sarah and Darcy
“Went to see the final performance of Hastings The Musical in Bancroft on the weekend. What an amazing show, talented musicians and actors. The music is so memorable and engaging! You will find yourself singing along even though you’ve never heard the songs before! If you have any interest in the history of the area, or even if you don’t, go see the show! Made me want to come home and research all the characters that were portrayed in the show especially Susanna! Highly recommend the show!”
“So happy I attended Hastings the Musical in Perth last night to a near capacity full house. The audience loved the show …so enthusiastic…the standing O was incredible. So proud of these amazing entertainers. The next day at a local Perth cafe we overheard a group of woman talking about how excellent the production was only to hear similar stories at their Tourist Bureau.
Looking so forward to the Belleville premier this Friday at 7:30 at the Empire Theatre…are you sitting…over 300 tickets sold for opening night. Get your ticket and take in this truly captivating original Canadian Musical. Congrats Tim Porter, Amy Marie Wallace, James R. King, Rachel Babor, Mike Lee, Danielle Leger, Colin Jones, Mark Lesage, Joel MacMeekin, Emily Mewett new comer Jessica.”
-Don Degenova, Tweed Town Council
“Another full house- this one last night in Perth – for Hastings! The Musical…Belleville, here we come Aug 17-18! This show has really grown since last year, and is not to be missed…happy to hear super-positive buzz/feedback this am at both local cafe and Matheson House/visitor information centre”
“The music, the harmonies, the Energy; and the versatility is unbelievable. Everyone is incredible.
I was immediately impressed when I walked in and saw the quality of the set. Unbealivable. “
-Lianna Kevan, Vocalist
“Theatre has never really been my thing. Until last night when I saw Hastings the Musical. I loved it! The music, the harmonies, the energy; and everyone playing the instruments is amazing. It was also hilarious! I had such a good time! The set is also gorgeous.Thank you.”
“The play was great!”
“The Musical was AMAZING!! It ticked all the boxes: set, music, talent; and the best part was the HISTORY of the settlement of Hastings!! “
-Evelyn Morris, Balderson, On
“The show was truly excellent! I especially appreciated the beautiful harmonies and crystal clear singing voices of the cast. The comedic timing was incredible and I laughed my head off. Beautiful choreography, actors also playing instruments, costumes, set…………..Whew. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more!”
“This past week I caught Tweed and Company’s production of Hastings, The Musical in Perth at the Studio Theatre. Am almost lost for words – how come we have not see this group on more stages in and around Ottawa and Kingston? So much talent – musically – where all the actors are the vocalists and the orchestra – playing a variety of instruments each, the choreography was executed with precision, enthusiasm and moved the story along brilliantly. The acting was very strong and again, actors playing multiple characters with many character changes taking place right on stage! The writing and musical composition was all original material – it effectively told the story of Hastings County with humour and high energy (I will never think of Susanna Moodie as another boring historical figure from high school history class). The set was brilliant – minimal but versatile and very inviting – especially the bar that was accessible before the show and at intermission. Costumes and lighting added to the energy and verve of the show. This is a show that could be put down anywhere – outdoors (wouldn’t that be fun on a hot day with a cold beer in hand!), in a school gym (a great way to enhance history curriculum) and on professional stages like the National Arts Centre. Canadians need to see this kind of show – Fun, entertaining and brilliantly executed. Congratulations to Tweed and Company – Can hardly wait to see their production of Aleck Bell- because I love first class entertainment and that’s what Tweed is offering.”
-Joan Frommer, indie women 2 productions, Ottawa ON
“Tweed & Co. rocked Hastings! The Musical opening tonight in Belleville at the Empire Theatre! Great crowd – well done, kids!”
“Fabulous show, thoroughly enjoyed it!! Vicki McCulloch and Don DeGenova, kudos to all involved!”
“It was a great show, glad we went again.”
“Great show so glad we went, it is a must see.”
“Fabulous show. Congratulations to the entire cast. This is a show you don’t want to miss.”
“There are not enough words to describe this fantastic show……so talented.”
“I am so happy for you! I loved this show. Hope it takes you to the stars and back.”
–Denyse Marie Aimee Mouck
“Great show! Actors were so talented. A great troupe with such high energy. Bravo.”
“Awesome show, you do not want to miss it. If you get a chance go see it.”
“Was invited to see Hastings! The Musical – and what a treat!! Cast, crew, writers, arrangers, and directer, Tim Porter, should be so, so, so proud of themselves for such a quality and engaging production. Any show, but particularly new musicals, are hard to sell especially in smaller areas but the writers of this show were smart both in a creative and business sense to choose a subject matter of interest to the audience of the area but spinning it in a way to engage a viewer with little or no historical knowledge of Hastings county. Funding as well is a great hurdle but there was no indication of corner cutting or lack of where with all in any way. Talent was top notch, and the musicianship was incredible! I was salivating watching the cast. Kept thinking, there is my Memories & Legends troupe. 😉 Once again, thank you and congratulations on your success with this exceptional show!!”
-Stephen Geddes, Canadian Composer
“Great show. Talented cast, high energy and fun.”
“Playing today at The Empire Theatre – shows at 2pm & 7:30pm. Worked the show last night and it is amazing! Come out and hear the historical stories of Hastings county in song & dance performed by Tweed & Company Theatre #supportlocal”
“Congratulations to Tweedites Tim Porter and Mark Lesage, and the rest of Tweed & Company Theatre, on a very successful opening night for Hastings! The Musical at the Empire in Belleville… see the last shows at 2 or 7:30 today. The show was good last year when it premiered in Tweed – but evolution in the production and a new sound system = fantastic! Go see it again, Tweed!”
-Tweed & Area Arts Council
“The audience had no idea what to expect next at any point in the show except that it would be hilarious and off the wall. Very clever writing and a wonderful performance. We laughed and laughed. Who knew the St. Lawrence had a pirate??”
“Just left the production “Hastings” in Perth at the Studio Theatre. Absolutely terrific! The young cast had wonderful voices and energy. Their capabilities of playing different instruments was outstanding. Great job by the crew. Highly recommend!
“It is said that in Newfoundland they tell Tweed jokes. They’d better not tell them too loudly.
This small centre Hastings village has taken the theatre world in Ontario by storm, from Toronto to Perth and from Bancroft to Belleville. Their latest hit, marking this youthful company’s tenth anniversary, completed its run in the Empire Theatre earlier this month with solid and very happy crowds.
“Hastings, the Musical’ is a cast of ghosts –but they are ghosts we know and love and have studied in local history classes – John Meyers, Susanna Moodie, tavern owner Rose Simpson, Intelligencer founder George Benjamin, his printer apprentice cum prime minister Mackenzie Bowell, assorted mid-19th century rebels, made famous in a book by local author, Betsy Boyce, and more. Ghostly characters the cast may play, but they do it with plenty of youthful enthusiasm, including compelling, rhythmic stomping that would make Tom Connors proud. The songs range from poignant ballads, to folk song to toe-tapping jigs.
One aspect that puts a stamp of uniqueness on the Tweed Theatre Company is that there is no pit band. The actors on stage play their own instruments, including a piano, drum set, bass viol, violin, mandolin, banjo and even a trumpet to announce the arrival of the Prince Regent and his song: “I’m not getting off this Boat.” All the songs and musical arrangements are also original works by individual or collective members of the cast.
In a salute to one of Canada’s oldest newspapers, there is a song about how readers of the day loved the “Belleville Intelligencer.” Perhaps using some theatrical licence, Susanna Moodie is portrayed as a raucous, rowdy social critic, although her own writings do reflect sharp comments about Belleville society in her day. As for Rosie Simpson, “If no one will open the door, just open another brew.”
Of course, there is lots of material about the railway and its impact and the famous gold rush, plus the grab for free to cheap land.
One mystery to this local historian was a song about “The Pirate of the St. Lawrence.” No one cared. They just tapped along and enjoyed. No doubt the company can confirm the historical context of this episode.
Coming within the next few weeks by this remarkable company is an updated production of their former hit musical, “Aleck Bell.” That show proved to be a real charmer the first time around in 2011 and the remake should be even more entertaining. It is scheduled to run in September in Tweed. It’s worth the drive.
Kudos and bravos to Tim Porter as director and the entire company.”
-Jack Evans/For The Intelligencer