Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™
Review by Aldera Chisholm
My roommate is "from away" and had not yet seen our Anne. So, with tickets in hand, we set off for the Confed Centre for this year's production of Anne of Green Gables-The Musical. Before the play, we agreed that there are three immutable truths about Anne. Meagan Follows is the one true Anne Shirley. Gilbert will always be the ideal man. And of course, there is nothing more delectable than ice cream.
The most surprising thing about Anne was just how catchy the music is. Just ask my roommate, she has been humming the tunes all week. In fact, if I hear "Ice Cream" one more time, I can't be held responsible for what might happen. (No judge on PEI will convict me.)
Readers of the book will have a very vivid picture of Green Gables in mind, and the bare bones stage concept of Green Gables was ambiguous enough to allow the audience to imprint their own "house of dreams." But I have to ask... what exactly is with those stylized flowers on one of the backdrops? I don't remember what scene played in front of them; I just see their glowing white afterimage that outshone even Anne's dazzling smile.
I think everyone walks into Anne with a preconceived notion of what they expect the characters to be like. In spite of the strong performances from the primary cast members, the so-called minor characters really steal the show-especially Rachel Lynde and Josie Pye. The cast remains true to the spirit of the books and viewers will not be disappointed.
This classic musical still manages to be funny, sweet and touching. It can be easy to underestimate this musical when you are exposed to the great marketing machine that is "Anne." She is like a guilty pleasure-we may put up a show of being coerced, but once in, we remember why we really love Anne. Sitting in that theatre and seeing Matthew's empty rocking chair... I would challenge even the greatest cynic to maintain dry eyes.
So, after seeing Anne, these are the three truths we came away with. Number one: Megan will always be the Anne, but Anne is a bit like Santa-even though you know there can be only one, each mall Santa brings his own bit of magic. I'm sorry Gilbert, but after checking out Dan MacKay in the role of the Minister, I have to say you may have a challenger for first place. And number three? Well, what can I say, now even I am singing the Ice Cream song . . .