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Anne & Gilbert—The Musical

Review by Ivy Wigmore

Performed by
Jayne Peters (Anne Shirley); Jonathan Gysbers (Gilbert Blythe); Jenny Wiesz (Diana Barry); Catherine O’Brien (Marilla Cuthbert); Marlene Handrahan (Rachel Lynde); Rachel Delduca (Josie Pye*); Aaron Crane (Moody MacPherson); Eva Petris (Philippa Gordon*); Matt Raffy (Roy Gardner); Mark Fraser (Mr. Sloane*); Fiona Clancey (Annetta Bell*); Simon Derome (Anthony*); Cameron Francis (Alonzo); Chris May (Fred); Sarah Rorabeck (Prillie*). *Additional roles omitted.

Directed by
Catherine O’Brien

Written by
Bob Johnston, Nancy White, Jeff Hochhauser

The performance
The big singing and dancing numbers were fabulous and the supporting cast a joy. The script and many of the lyrics were smart and amusing and the set design was terrific: fascinating to look at, highly functional and smoothly implemented. Energy lagged in longer scenes featuring Anne and Gilbert, when I examined the (admittedly interesting) set design and projection. The pair demonstrated little of the lust and longing seen in Josie for Gilbert and by Roy for Anne. The lead characters were somewhat earnest in contrast to their young friends.

Supported by
Brittany Banks (choreographer); Rachel O’Brien (music director); Shawnte Burrell (head of wardrobe); Bryan Kenney (set designer); Leigh Ann Vardy (lighting designer); Nick Bottomley (projection designer); Robert Pel, Anne Putnam (stage manager)

The story
Anne of Green Gables has grown up and Avonlea is a-twitter, anticipating romance between Anne and Gilbert. Anne, however, is resistant. We watch the never-smooth path as they start their teaching careers and move on to college. 

Best thing
Rachel Delduca (Josie Pye) was a stand-out — terrific adolescent girl comedic drama and always fun to watch. 

Shortcoming
Anne and Gilbert scenes could have been shorter and snappier. 

Final thoughts
Recommended, especially for Anne fans. Fun, (mostly) high-energy entertainment. 

—Select dates at The Guild. Tickets/info: theguildpei.com.

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