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Islander through and through

Review by Cassandra Bernard

Performed by
Rebecca Parent (Anne Shirley), Josh Wiles (Gilbert Blythe), Rebecca Griffin (Diana Barry), Cathy Grant (Marilla Cuthbert), Margot Sampson (Rachel Lynde), Melissa MacKenzie (Josie Pye/Sophmore), Aaron Crane (Moody MacPherson), Morgan Wagner (Philippa Gordon), Brandon Howard Roy (Royal Gardner), Mark Fraser (Mr. Sloane/Professor/Headwaiter/Stn. Master/Reverand)

Directed by
Mark Fraser

Written by
Jeff Hochhauser, Bob Johnston, and Nancy White

Band in the Barn featuring
Morgan Saulnier (Pianist), Jasmine Michel (Violinist), Laurie Forsyth (Cello)

The story
Anne & Gilbert—The Musical is a romantic storytelling of childhood friends. When Gilbert Blythe proposes to Anne of Green Gables, complications arise as he is not the only lad who has his heart set on her. Anne is a troubled young woman being an orphan in the past, and she fears she may never be able to fall in love with anyone. As Gilbert helps her to discover the truth about her parents, a road to jubilation is soon affirmed. 

The Performance
The familiar story of Anne & Gilbert begins in the village of Avonlea. A full cast of townspeople, school children, friendly faces and snooty characters such as Josie Pye return for a fun-filled performance on the tiny but quaint set at The Guild. The show consists of two acts, filled with upbeat musical numbers, supported by the band in the barn that really brings the show to life. 

Best thing
Parent makes for a fine Anne of Green Gables, but Sampson brings all kinds of laughs and chuckles in her role as Ms. Rachel Lynde, with her familiar character as the nosy neighbour, town gossip, and most importantly, a loyal friend. 

Final thoughts
There is something about the story of Anne of Green Gables that makes an Islander proud to call PEI home. Anne & Gilbert—The Musical features all kinds of illustrations of what it means to be an Islander: kind, creative, loyal, friendly, and adventurous. The performance yet again allows the theatre goer to really imagine what it would be like to live in Anne’s world; a young woman who struggles to come into her own, to make tough decisions, and to discover true love. 

—On stage at The Guild in Charlottetown to October 23, 2018.

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