Tag Archives: Cameron MacDonald PEI

Build That Wall!

“Build That Wall!” — Matt Rainnie Joins ‘Robyn Hood’ as Wicked Prince John — Local actor, writer, and broadcaster to play chief villain in Centre’s Christmas musical

Enter Matt Rainnie as the artist formally known as Prince. The well-known CBC broadcaster and performer joins a stacked cast this Christmas for Confederation Centre’s holiday musical, Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier.

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Rainnie plays bad boy Prince John, the tousle-haired tyrant of Sherwood-Parkdale Forest, and foil to Robyn Hood (Maria Campbell) and her Fairly Merrily Men. Prince John rules the Island with an iron-fist, taxing the poor and scheming to contaminate their water and construct a wall around the entire province. The Adam Brazier-directed musical is penned by Graham Putnam and Brazier, and plays select dates, December 9 – 17.

“I’m excited to step into this bright and musical and incredibly silly world,” remarks Rainnie, “and to be the bad guy? Oh, it’s the best. Prince John is a sniveling, arrogant bully and that’s so much fun to play. I even get an awful wig, so I’m adjusting to having bangs for the first time in many years.”

Rainnie joins a fun-loving ensemble of theatre pros, Holland College/Confederation Centre School of Performing Arts students, hobby actors, and emerging talent of all ages, including Charlottetown Festival veterans Jessica Gallant and Alana Bridgewater, fellow Islanders Sarah MacPhee, Jordan Cameron, Nadia Haddad, Lexi Durant, Cameron MacDonald, Fraser McCallum, Tamara Gough, Ellen Carol, Al Baldwin, Ken Williams, and dozens more.

“I think with these shows, Adam and the Centre have created a welcome new holiday tradition,” Rainnie continues. “It can be a really busy time of year and these productions offer escape to this colourful and wonderfully ridiculous world, a chance to laugh and sing along to great tunes. Robyn Hood aims to do that again.”

Rainnie is the host of CBC Radio One’s popular P.E.I. morning show, Island Morning. Active in the community, he has also hosted countless charitable events across the province and remained connected to the local theatre scene where he was a founding member of Sketch 22, and cast member with Annekenstein and the improve comedy quartet 4Play.

“Theatre was a rewarding part of my life but I put it on hold the last few years,” he offers. “My daughters were both in Adam Brazier’s holiday show Aladdin last year. That gave me the chance to see this phenomenal crew in action and to see how much fun everyone was having both on stage and off. I knew I wanted to be part of that experience this time around.”

The broadcaster began his career with CBC PEI in 1993. He was a TV reporter and journalist before finding his home in radio. For several years, he hosted and produced the afternoon show, Mainstreet. During that time he was occasionally guest host of Sounds Like Canada and Weekend Mornings, and was host and producer of the national summer program, Lost and Found.

He has also worked as a film reviewer for CBC across the Maritimes, as a writer for stage and screen, and in animation voice-over. He lives in Charlottetown with his wife and three children, two of whom will join him on stage in Robyn Hood.

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Popalopalots Appears (and Appears) at The Guild

The eight-person Popalopalots comedy group will host P.E.I.’s first-ever improv comedy marathon, Popalopalooza, Jan. 29–30. They’re making it up as they go along.

Improv is comedy created on the spur of the moment without a script, usually as short sketches or games driven by audience suggestions. “Even as I say it, it sounds — like, what am I doing?” Rob MacDonald of Popalopalots told CBC Radio Island Morning host Matt Rainnie.

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All proceeds go to the Cancer Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to purchase new heated seats for patients.

“Everybody is affected by cancer and a couple of the Popalopalots have or have had people go through there,” Mr. MacDonald said. The marathon will start at The Guild in Charlottetown on Friday Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. and run until the following Saturday night at 10 p.m.

“It terrifies me, and I’m looking at it as a sort of sociological or psychological experiment,” Mr. MacDonald joked.

Members of the group will take turns on stage so everyone will get a chance to take a break over those 26 hours.

Admission to the show is by donation for the first 24 hours. Tickets for the final two hours, from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, are $15.

Stamina is required. Even if the audience is nonexistent at 4 a.m., the show will go on, promises Mr. MacDonald. “I’m going to try to be on stage for as many minutes as are humanly possible,” he said.

Participants are now scheduling themed hours so they have a rough plan to follow.

“Saturday morning, I think we’re going to be doing fairy tales for a couple of hours,” said Mr. Macdonald. The group is calling the section from midnight to 4 a.m. “the filthy and the dirty” and tailoring it to crowds coming in from local bars.

The Popalopalots suggest the best time to check out the action is on Jan. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m., when they plan to improvise a complete full-length 2-hour movie slash play, which they’re already promising will be “terrible.”

Predictions are that by the end of the 26 hours the actors will be fighting with one another and sobbing from exhaustion. Members of the brave crew include Rob MacDonald, his son Cameron MacDonald, Graham Putnam, Dylan Miller, Jordan Cameron, Ben Hartley, Kelly Caseley, and Alicia Arsenault.