Molly MacKinnon on violin & fiddle

Molly MacKinnon on violin & fiddle

THEATRE REVIEW: The Night’s Mare is a whimsical dream

Endo The Blind Horse steals the show at Caravan Farm Theatre's summer production, The Night's Mare, written by Kevin Kerr.

There’s an old showbiz adage, credited to W.C. Fields, that goes, “never work with children or animals.”

I would argue that statement after seeing Caravan Farm Theatre’s new summer production, The Night’s Mare. In fact, I’d go even further and say the animal here is the star of the show.

Although he appears in the play fleetingly in the first act, Endo, the white speckled Appaloosa, makes his presence known with his very first trot into the paddock, circling in front of the audience without hesitation.

This, at first, may not seem that impressive until you look closer at this remarkable horse.

Blinded five years ago from a painful eye disease known as equine recurrent uveitis, or moon blindness, Endo is not only sightless, he has no eyes. However, his empty sockets have not restricted him from finding his way – his other senses guide him as does his owner from birth, Morgan Wagner, who has her own part in the play.

They are  beautiful  – a symbiotic force, riding together.

Endo and Morgan so impressed Governor General award winning playwright Kevin Kerr, and the show’s director Courtenay Dobbie (also Caravan’s artistic director), they used their story as inspiration for the play’s underlying theme – of finding strength, beauty, and friendship through the darkness.

With the opening cue of the spiritual I’ll Fly Away, played by the harmonious band of musicians, led by Armstrong’s own Gaz Jordan, with Molly MacKinnon on violin and fiddle and Dennis Siemens on bass, the legend of The Night’s Mare is told by the shaman-like narrator Queenie (scene stealer Susinn McFarlen), who pops in and out of the story, breaking the silence with her throaty laugh and boo-tactic dramatics.

We hear how a blind horse, beloved by the girl who rescues it, is outcast by the girl’s father, who fears for his daughter’s safety. The horse, spooked, disappears with the girl riding on his bare back, only to be seen fleetingly by those who dare enter the woods.

The story begins as a rough-around-the- edges,  but soft-on-the-inside, horse tracker named Buck (jovial John Jarvis) is expecting visitors from out of town. He believes the mare is real and wants to rescue it from the woods.

Meanwhile Buck’s daughter, Flo (the endearing Katey Hoffman), the town’s baby whisperer, is planning to leave home to become a magician. Her tricks don’t impress her dad much, but her musician mom, Melody (Sarah May Redmond, also playing her accordion and singing with her amazingly strong voice), encourages Flo to pursue her passion.

With her impending departure, Flo hands off her babysitting job to her gum- and wise-cracking, Twitter-feeding friend Jolene (physical comedy expert Lucy Hill), which cues the band to play the Dolly Parton classic of the same name.

The arrival of the visitors, Hollywood couple Ryan (Robert Salvador, looking spectacular sans shirt) and Jennifer (familiar stage and voice actor Sarah McVie) upends those plans when they arrive at Buck’s ranch, wanting to film a movie about the ghostly mare.

Along for the ride is their own worst nightmare, unruly daughter Allie Ann (Adelleh Furseth, looking a tad mature for a nine-year-old, but pulling it off), whose direction is lost, despite the fact she likes to guide all the action, with one of those annoying scene clapper boards.

Allie Ann’s nanny has quit and as she is needing some guidance, namely a babysitter, in steps Flo and Jolene to the rescue, while Ryan, Jennifer and Buck head out into the woods to hunt down the mare.

Meanwhile, Melody, who is lacking passion in her own life, also goes into the woods with a mickey full of something strong and her cute, young bandmate Gilmour (Daniel Maslany, playing a tiny keyboard and singing like an angel).

Left to their own devices, the girls decide to make their own ghost story and also venture out into the woods. That’s where things get exciting. Marshmallows are devoured, cellular phone connections are lost, kisses are stolen, shirts are torn off (don’t worry, this is a family show – my kids loved it!)  and a mysterious white horse and its rider – lit in ghostly fashion – follows all those in their path.

Despite some of the darker themes that lurk beneath the surface, The Night’s Mare is a lively, fun romp. It will have you laughing and in awe when Endo makes his final bow.

With the fitting set of a worn-out farm house facade (designed by James “Jimbo” Insell), the disassembling of which is a cool thing to witness during intermission, the cast and musicians all do an immeasurable job with the material in front of them. The characters and songs will stay with you as you travel through the darkness to wherever home may be.

The Night’s Mare continues at Caravan Farm Theatre to Aug. 23. Shows run nightly at 7:30 p.m. (except Mondays) and tickets can be ordered at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469,


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read