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Variety show in kilts

"The Tartan Terrors" -- it almost sounds like a Halloween horror show set in Scotland, doesn't it?

But the reality is something quite different. This Celtic-themed variety show combines music, dance and comedy to leave audiences howling with delight, not fear.

North America's premier Celtic event will take the stage at Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Led by the brother-sister directing team of Ellen Wilkes Irmisch and her brother, Ian, The Tartan Terrors feature the best in music, comedy and dance.

Combine the musical prowess of the blistering piping of a two-time world champion bagpiper (Bill Weir) and the driving tones of drums from around the world with championship caliber Highland Dancers and internationally recognized comedic performers and you get a Celtic group that goes beyond the ordinary.

"I like to say we're 'Riverdance meets Saturday Night Live,'" joked Ellen Wilkes Irmisch in a Tuesday interview. "This show will have all those different elements -- music, dance and comedy. We have a lot of fun."

Irmisch said she and her brother first came up with the concept of the Tartan Terrors as a result of working at renaissance fairs across North America.

"My mother was a Highland (dance) judge, and she taught us all kinds of dances -- Highland, tap, jazz, ballet," Wermisch said. "That's how we got our training. Fourteen years ago my brother and I were hired to work at the Ontario Renaissance Fair. I was hired to play the lead in 'Much Ado About Nothing,' Lady Beatrice, and Ian was hired to juggle. We were to dance on the side."

They were talented and popular enough that they ended up being part of the "renaissance fair circuit," performing in Maryland and Texas among other places. It was during this time that they came up with the concept for their own show.

Wermisch said the show combines all the talents of its members.

"We have a lot of different skills in our pockets," she said. "Some have gone through theater and comedy school, some are dancers, some musicians.

"We basically created a variety show."

Members of the Tartan Terrors have performed on four different continents; in some of the most prestigious festivals, Highland Games and theaters of North America; for President Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II; and on "Good Morning America."

For more information, visit their website at Tickets for the Oct. 7 show can be purchased by visiting the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 806 Summit Ave., online at, or by calling 218-844-SHOW.

Prior to the main show at 7:30 p.m., renowned area musicians Mr. Jack and Bill Mohn will be performing a pre-show in the Holmes Ballroom at 6 p.m.

The Tartan Terrors show is the first of the season for the SJE Rhombus Edge Series, and is also underwritten in part by Precision Printing. For more information, visit

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454