Anne of Green Gables: Orpheus offers a spirited production of this musical adaptation of the novel

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

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Photo courtesy of Orpheus Musical Theatre.

Seems we just can’t get enough of Anne Shirley, that spunky young redhead who packs her overheated imagination and drama queen ways along with her clothes when she moves from a Nova Scotia orphanage to a PEI farm. This time around Anne is portrayed by Caroline Baldwin, and Orpheus couldn’t have asked for a better one in its production of the musical adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved novel. Baldwin’s a skilled vocalist, her delivery easy, full and nuanced. Her acting is on par with her singing: the actress is a woman, but the character we see is a young girl and one who’s endlessly interesting and entertaining as she learns about herself, family and community.

While Baldwin shines in this spirited production, her fellow cast members for the most part aren’t far behind. Gilbert Blythe is played with conviction by Storm Davis who transforms himself into a youngster smitten with Anne and who, while easily cowed, inevitably pops back up for another go at whatever he’s after. Davis needs to let loose more when singing: his vocal constraint works against his ability.

 

Kate Boone is a fun Diana, Anne’s kindred spirit and bosom buddy. Jim Robertson is a kindly, fumbling Matthew Cuthbert, Anne’s ally in her initial battles with his straight-laced sister Marilla (Laura Duncan who underplays her character).

Also worth noting: young Michelle Sangalli in her first Orpheus role. She’s a singing and dancing delight as Sara Gillis, one of the children in Avonlea.

These and other cast members are led by artistic director Joyce Landry and veteran Orpheus choreographer Debbie Guilbeault (her Ice Cream number is terrific). Terry Duncan conducts the orchestra. Tony Walker’s set is both fun and functional.

Anne of Green Gables

Centrepointe Theatre, Nov. 20-29, 2915

Book by Donald Harron

Music by Norman Campbell

Adapted from the novel by L. M. Montgomery

Lyrics by Donald Harron and Norman Campbell

Additional Lyrics by Mavor Moore and Elaine Campbell

CAST

Anne Shirley

Caroline Baldwin

Marilla Cuthbert

Laura Duncan

Matthew Cuthbert

Jim Robertson

Rachel Lynde

Maureen McGovern

Diana Barry

Kate Boone

Gilbert Blythe

Storm Davis

Mrs. Pye

Laura Burk

Mrs. Sloane

Micah Steffler

Mrs. Barry

Jennifer Grimsey

Mrs. Blewett/Miss Arsenault

Christine Drew

Mrs. MacPherson

Andrea Kinsley

Lucilla

Mary Ellen Vice

Mrs. Gillis/Miss Stacey

Jennifer Cecil

Mrs. Spencer

Maureen Speer

Prissy Andrews

Selina McDonell

Josie Pye

Sarah Olberg

Stationmaster/Farmer Sloane

Bryan Jesmer

Mr Phillips

Evan Huus

Mr. Allan

Rick Burk

Earl the Mailman

Murray Doggett

Cecil Andrews

Rob McLeish

Fisherman Boulter

Morris Rothman

Farmer Joe

John Litster

Charlie Sloane

Marco Walker-Ng

Moody MacPherson

Brandon Nguyen

Tommy Sloane

Jason Wong

Allan Gillis

Xander Sen

Elizabeth Gillis

Samantha Clarke

Ruby Gillis

Paige Harrison

Sara Gillis

Michelle Sangalli

Tillie Boulter

Mirana Rambelo

Gertie Pye

Maya Harris-Harb

Jane Andrews

Kayleigh Doggett

Mary Spencer

Madeline Hore-Kelman

Percussion

Pierre Huneault

PRODUCTION TEAM

Artistic Director

Joyce Landry

Musical Director

Terry Duncan

Choreographer

Debbie Guilbeault

Set Designer

Tony Walker

Costume Designer

Judy Froome

Lighting Designer

John Solmon

Sound Designer

John Cybanski


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