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Travelling to the east coast with Anne of Green Gables

Arts and EntertainmentTravelling to the east coast with Anne of Green Gables

A full house of audience members took a trip to the maritime province of Prince Edward Island for Playful Fox Productions (PFP) performance of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” at the Paris Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

“For those of you who don’t know, the Anne of Green Gables musical actually started off as a tv musical adaptation on CBC Folio back in 1956 and made its official stage debut at the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Prince Edward Island in 1965,” said Rob Curwain, a crew member for the performance. “Now, almost 60 years later, we’re getting to bring this show to you.”

Marilla Cuthbert (Alissa Cooper) and Rachel Lynde (Liv MacQueen) talk about the latest adoption gossip during Playful Fox Productions’ of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

Based on Lucy Maud (L.M.) Montgomery’s classic Canadian novel, “Anne of Green Gables,” Norman Campbell and Donald Harron’s musical tells the story of a spirited red-haired orphan girl named Anne Shirley and the adventures that follow in her new home of Avonlea.

After deciding to adopt a young boy to help on their family farm, siblings Marilla (played by Alissa Cooper) and Matthew Cuthbert’s (Desmond Nanassy) lives are changed for the better after a communication mix up landed them with the high-spirited young Anne (Grace Ingrid).

Matthew Cuthbert (Desmond Nanassy) and Anne Shirley (Grace Ingrid) take an adventurous ride back to Green Gables during Playful Fox Productions’ performance of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

As the musical unfolded, audience members got an inside look into Anne’s day to day life as she slowly but surely captured the hearts of not only the siblings and her friends, but the entire town.

From the moment she stepped on stage, Ingrid’s portrayal of the young orphan girl perfectly captured Anne’s imaginative mind, spunky attitude, her passion and her heart.

Between the accurately timed facial expressions, witty delivery and her robust vocal talent, Ingrid, like Anne, quickly charmed the hearts of the audience.

Matthew Cuthbert (Desmond Nanassy) gives his adoptive daughter, Anne Shirley (Grace Ingrid), some much needed fatherly advice during Playful Fox Productions’ performance of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

Alongside Ingrid, Cooper and Nanassy were a delight to watch as their characters navigated the unexpected addition to their family.

Nanassy’s performance of Matthew Cuthbert embodied his character’s kind and loving nature. From offering fatherly advice to doting on his adoptive daughter, Nanassy’s portrayal of Matthew effortlessly allowed the audience to connect with the character on a deeper level.

Despite the differences between the sibling’s and how they handle Anne’s arrival, Cooper’s representation of Marilla Cuthbert equally upheld the actor’s dedication to the role. Between the perfectly timed eyerolls and her consistent delivery of Marilla’s rigid and rule-driven personality, Cooper delivered a performance that captured the character’s growth throughout the story.

Josie Pye (Alannah Taylor) makes it clear how she feels about her new classmate during Playful Fox Productions’ performance of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

As for Naomi Zagala, who played Diana Barry, Anne’s “kindred spirit” and best friend, Zagala clearly embraced her character’s playful and happy demeanor in a natural way.

On the opposite end of the character scale, Alannah Taylor’s portrayal of Josie Pye, Anne’s dishonest and sharp-tongued schoolmate, perfectly captured the character’s jealousy of the red-haired orphan, while Braedyn Edwards delivered a voice of reason, though equally stubborn, character as Gilbert Blythe.

Anne Shirley and her classmates, along with her new teacher explore the outdoors during Playful Fox Productions’ performance of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

From the fun and enchanting props, to the clever use of the set, the upbeat musical numbers and the dedication of the ensemble, it was clear that the entire cast and crew of PFP’s Anne of Green Gables, were passionate about delivering a tried and true retelling of the Canadian classic, and they certainly captured the light-hearted play.

Anne Shirley (Grace Ingrid) isn’t so sure about the new dress her adoptive mother, Marilla (Alissa Cooper) made for her during Playful Fox Productions’ performance of “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.
Anne Shirley (Grace Ingrid) and her classmates show off their version of the Last Supper during Playful Fox Productions’ performance of “Anne of Green Gables” on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

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