Sunday, March 6, 2016

Anne At The Arden

We attended Cantilon Choirs' production of Anne of Green Gables last night at the Arden theatre in St. Albert; it's a lovely stage, with great acoustics and lighting. Fenya played the part of Diana Barry, Anne's best friend in her new home of Avonlea, P.E.I..

The musical takes a few liberties with the story, giving a new motivation to the eventual departure of Mr. Spencer, the overbearing teacher, which is linked to the over-tutored Prissy Andrews.

The costumes, hair and makeup were exquisitely done, and captured the period perfectly.

The staging was fairly minimalist, but very effective, and occasionally imaginative. When the pennants dropped from overhead, it was all too easy to believe you were witnessing an outdoor picnic in June, complete with handmade ice cream (which leads in to Fenya's big number of the same name).

Here she regales the younger students with tales of the wondrous things she witnessed in the bustling metropolis of...Charlottetown?

Fenya also got a lovely duet with Elizabeth as Diana and Anne sing about being 'Kindred Spirits', prefaced by Diana's confession that her dream is to eventually "marry a wicked young man, and then gradually reform him."

When Prissy returns to Avonlea, it is as Mrs. Spencer, and roundly pregnant. And if that's bad enough, you have to listen to the smug git sing about the results of planting a tiny seed...gak! I understand the actress also didn't warn her boyfriend in the audience that she would be appearing laden with child, but I hope his response was memorable.

It was a capacity show, largely full of friends and relations, but it was tremendously well done, and appreciatively received by the audience.

Given how expressive she is, I'm still a bit saddened that Fenya was never particularly interested in drama, and sure, it's probably just a father's vanity, but when I see her do something funny on stage, I think, 'Your loss, Hollywood."

Elizabeth was a wonderful Anne, full of dramatic vigor and mischievousness.

Here, some of the principals ham it up in reaction to the apocryphal pregnancy.

Since this may be Fenya's last big production with Cantilon (since she is taking a gap year before starting university), I'm glad her Aunt Betty got a shot of her with the choir's artistic director and conductor, Heather Johnson, who has been such a big part of Fenya's life for the past 12 years.

Kudos to everyone involved in such a magnificent production!

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