From start to finish, Chemainus Theatre’s summer performance was electrifying! We were smiling, laughing and entertained on this perfect summer’s night.
Written By Gretta Kennedy, Traveling Islanders
Last night I went to the theatre…or at least that’s what I was planning on doing. As it turns out, I actually went to a televised talk show and watched the amazing performances of British bands of the 60’s.
I was born in the 1970’s and the music played in my home growing up was of the classical variety, so I pretty much completely missed the music of the 60’s.
When I heard Chemainus Theatre was doing Twist and Shout: The British Invasion for the summer, I thought it was going to be a concert by the Beatles. Boy was I wrong.
It was so much more and so much much better than I ever imagined.
After a delicious dinner at the Playbill Dining Room, Jay and I headed into the theatre to await the show. I sat in my seat and was immediately transported back in time to the 1960’s. We watched real commercials in black and white for products like razors, cereal, pickles and the like.
We were greeted by Roy Solomon, our hilarious and energetic host for the evening, and when the silver curtain parted and the show began, we saw none other than the Beatles, right on stage! We all started singing and clapping along with John, Paul, George and Ringo. I thought maybe it was just me, but as I looked around at the other audience members, I know I wasn’t alone. The energy in the “studio” was electric and it didn’t let up.
Roy Solomon took us on an educational journey starting in 1964 with the Beatles’ arrival to the United States.
But he was so much more than our host.
He had us laughing at his jokes and side-show antics. He introduced us to bands like Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Hollies, Freddy and Dreamers, Dusty Springfield and so many more.
Of all the new artists that hit the charts in the United States during the years of 1964-1967, nearly half of them came from Great Britain.
They had such a massive influence on North American music and style that it impacted an era.
As the evening progressed, it truly didn’t feel like I was watching a show, but rather was part of one.
I quietly sang the songs I knew without a care in the world. Others were singing too, and when the house lights came back on for intermission, Jay and I visited with those sitting next to us who reminisced about when they saw these very bands on the Ed Sullivan Show many years ago.
It was fun to feel like we were re-living an exciting time in music history for an evening.
As with all the shows that come through Chemainus Theatre, I’m sure that the costume designer should be highly praised for their work, but with Twist and Shout, the wardrobe for the women alone was nothing short of awesome. There were dresses I wanted to take home and at times I even pretended to be up there on stage singing and dancing away along with the ladies.
Hey, I’m not afraid to admit it. But then I’d see them bend and twist and kick and twirl and I’d snap back to reality.
Who am I kidding? I’d have to be in slightly better shape to pull of some of those moves and the outfits!
They were flawless and stunning.
And really, how fast can they change anyway? I stopped counting how many times the ladies came out in a different dress or hairstyle. Is there a small army backstage helping with all the changes?
Jay and I had so much fun being a part of the Roy Solomon Show and enjoyed our evening immensely. My cheeks hurt from all the smiling…I don’t think I stopped once from the moment the show started.
The Playbill Dining Room started us off with another fantastic meal. It was our first mid-week dining experience and we had just as hard a time as any with pacing ourselves and not eating too much. Buffets are dangerous (!), but oh so good.
Jay thought he had enough to eat after 3 trips to the buffet line, 2 small plates of dessert and 2 bowls of fresh strawberries and whip cream.
We left the table, our servers completely cleaned it off (and most of the dining room for that matter), but Jay returned for one more piece of lemon meringue pie! Seriously. The guy can’t quit when it comes to a good buffet. It’s in his blood.