The Georgian (Stephenville)

Fisherman's Boy an enjoyable show
Stephenville Theatre Festival 2009 review
The Georgian

Fisherman's Boy

July 10, 2009

Musical Director: David Bennett

Stage Director: Eva Moore

Cast: Roy Berti, Shane Blanchard, Trevor Hinks, Ryan Tiller

When putting off a tribute show to a great musical talent - one runs the risk of not only making buffoons of themselves, but also the legacy of the person being remembered.

Fortunately, Stephenville Theatre Festival sidestepped this caveat entirely with Fisherman's Boy and the quartet honouring Dick Nolan was nothing short of outstanding.

Mr. Nolan was born in Corner Brook in 1939 - and was performing on local radio in his early teens and went on to find fame on the national and international music scene with his blend of traditional Newfoundland and country tunes. Mr. Nolan was the first Newfoundlander to be nominated for a Juno; to perform at the Grand Ole Opry; and to have gold and platinum records. He passed away in 2005, having recorded more than 40 albums, which collectively sold in excess of one million copies.

With a combination of powerful vocals and a natural rapport with the audience, lead singer and guitarist Trevor Hinks paid fine respect to Dick Nolan's legacy. His ease and confidence didn't seem to waver; rather, he seemed to get better with each song. Ballads and ditties - and even Johnny Cash tunes, which Nolan himself covered - were spot on.

Joining Hinks were Ryan Tiller, Shane Blanchard and Roy Berti. The four looked to be having a grand time performing together, which added to the show's overall feel-good atmosphere. Tiller was impressive on the accordion, mandolin and electric guitar; as was Blanchard on bass and backing vocals. As the show was set in Stage II, it was a treat to have a close-up view of Berti on the drums.

As an aside, this is the first STF season for Hinks, Tiller and Blanchard. Berti is the festival's ranking veteran, and one can only hope that during this anniversary season, an audience will rise to their feet to cheer on this musician who has played with and mentored countless other performers over the years.

The set was spare, save for a few choice traditional Newfoundland touches. Costumes were in the same vein, but Blanchard's shirt was clearly ill-fitting. Overall, the sound was loud and clear. Unfortunately, the lighting was a bit off at times, with the performers' faces occasionally masked in unnatural hues.

Like STF's other tribute shows, there was no acting per se in this production. But for an enjoyable evening of traditional music, this is a show to definitely see. Fisherman's Boy is scheduled to play again on July 31, with a supper-show performance on Aug. 4.


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