Shaw Festival, we took in three shows. The first was Peter and the Starcatcher which is a prequel to Peter Pan, kind of the 'how the lost boys became the lost boys' story. It is a lot of fun and great for audiences of all ages. Performed by an ensemble of actors who trade narration duties and roles to create two very different crews for two very different ships as well as the strange inhabitants of the island they end up on. There were many very cool things about how they create the world. It's a piece that calls for low-tech magic and it was nice to see them making their own choices different from the Broadway production (I saw that a couple of years ago). We saw the last Preview performance of the show, and I think that although they were generally very tight, they still have a little ways to go to make the ensemble seamless. This is the kind of show that will just get better and better over the course of the run as the cast becomes a single machine telling the tale. My favorite performances were Charlie Gallant as Boy, Billy Lake as Fighting Prawn, and Martin Happer as the Black 'Stache. Gallant really shows a nice journey from untrusting & angry to joyous and adventurous. Happer and Lake make the most of their outrageous characters to much comic appeal.
You Never Can Tell. We knew nothing about it going in, as it was the show we could fit in between the 2 we had selected. A G.B. Shaw piece that neither of us were familiar with. We both loved it! The set (Leslie Frankish) was whimsical and delightful and set the tone perfectly for the comedy about to happen. It's always so fun when a show catches you off-guard! Telling the story of a mother of three children who return to England from away. The children have no idea who their father is as their mother has refused to tell them and they are a bit unruly from being raised away in Madeira. So you know they are going to be reunited with their father, and they are. Throw in a penniless dentist who falls in love instantly with the eldest child and a waiter to manage it all and it is really quite fun. Director Jim Mezon has certainly gone for the whimsy in it, in any case, and it worked for us! I've got a new Fangirl Crush on Gray Powell who played the love-struck dentist. He lit up the stage whenever he was on it. Overall, the ensemble is quite tight which led to an enjoyable evening. On occasion the twins were a little much, but I think that was the point. Shaw manages to make a few comments on marriage and parenting, but by keeping it so fun, it never comes off like a lecture, which I appreciated!
All in all, we had a terrific time. It's been a long time since I have gone to the Shaw Festival and I am looking forward to going back again the next time I take a trip out East! We also spotted Canadian stars Colin Mochrie (Who's Line Is It Anyway), and Debra McGrath & Sheila McCarthy (Little Mosque on the Prairie). We joked that they were stalking us as we spotted them at 2 of the 3 shows we were at!
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