Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences Anne of Green GablesBy Laura & Mike Clark • Dec 17th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences
Industrial Strength Theatre, Herndon, VA
$10/$7 Child age 10 or younger
Through Dec. 21st
This is the Show Biz Radio review of Anne of Green Gables performed by the Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences in Herndon, Virginia. We saw the performance on Sunday afternoon, December 14, 2008.
Anne of Green Gables is a play by R.N. Sandberg, adapted from Lucy Montgomery’s novel. Just in time for the holidays comes this family story of a high-spirited orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to a childless couple that thought they were getting a boy to help on their farm. What follows is a series of trials and tribulations that almost cause them to send Anne back to the orphanage. However, her constant chatter, romantic imaginings and irresistible charm convince them that she is the best thing that ever happened to them, and Anne finds a loving family.
This was a delightful play, well cast and nicely staged. All the actors were comfortable on stage, and the chemistry between Sarah Chapin as Anne Shirley and Maggie Solo as Diana Barry was palpable. Overall the pace of the show were well done. There were a few minor spots that had either a dramatic pause or else the timing was a bit off.
As Marilla Cuthbert, Lisa Anne Bailey gave a strong performance. She was on the outset very cold and unemotional. Bailey portrayed a rather dour older woman. However, she and Anne taught each other some life lessons that included using one’s imagination, and not giving in to your temper (at least not often). By the end of the show Bailey allowed us to see Marilla’s warmth.
Her brother Matthew Cuthbert was played believably by Allen McRae. McRae was kind-hearted where Marilla was more abrasive. Matthew was a simple man, but even on the ride home from the train station with Anne, McRae started showing us the power of Anne’s exuberance. He wanted the best for Anne even if there were times he had no clue what she was talking about.
Sarah Chapin played the feisty red-haired Anne excellently. Chapin was emotional and fiercely loyal to her friends. For example, her histrionics when apologizing for insulting Mrs. Lynde (played by Susanne Jones). She had a kind heart towards children and a fiery temper when teased.
Her bosom friend Diana was played by Maggie Solo. Solo and Chapin seemed to have a great rapport and got along famously together. Diana liked Anne’s imagination, and easily got caught up in Anne’s adventure’s even though she, like Matthew, did not always know what was going on. Solo had a real innocence about her that made her quite likable.
The set for Anne Of Green Gables consisted of several playing areas; Matthew and Marilla’s dining room and Anne’s bedroom remained on stage throughout the show. The rest of the stage was used to represent the school, train station, the river, a front porch. Set changes were handled quickly and imaginatively.
Anne of Green Gables ran two hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission. The Sunday afternoon matinee was almost sold out. This was a fun and uplifting story you won’t want to miss. Anne of Green Gables is playing for one more weekend. Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 pm and closing on Sunday the 21st at 2:30 pm at the Industrial Strength Theatre in Herndon, Virginia.
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And now, on with the show.
Ever since I can remember, I have been a fan of this story and I have been thinking about directing this show for over two years. What is it about this piece that gets to me every time? Is it Anne’s lust for life despite the adversity she must overcome? Could it be Marilla and Matthews’ gradual and eventual unconditional love for this girl? Is it Diana and Anne’s beautiful, simple and enduring friendship? Is it the unspoken feelings between Gil and Anne? It is a little of all of these things. After all, do we not all have things in common? Do we all not overcome adversity? Don’t we all want and need to love and be loved in return-unconditionally? Haven’t we all just wanted to fit in and belong?
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lucy Montgomery’s literary masterpiece, we have assembled for you a first rate cast and production staff to bring to life one of my favorite stories. They are a dedicated, talented and generous bunch that couldn’t be more grateful or satisfied with our production. I hope you will leave this theater with a tear in your eye, joy in your heart and a smile on your face. During this process I have experienced all three – many times over. I am a happy director indeed.
- Mrs. Lynde/Mrs. Blewett: Susanne Jones
- Marilla Cuthbert: Lisa Anne Bailey
- Stationmaster/Mr. Phillips /Doctor: Andrew Plummer
- Anne Shirley: Sarah Chapin
- Matthew Cuthbert: Allen McRae
- Mrs. Barry: Leta Hall
- Diana Barry: Maggie Solo
- Gilbert Blythe: Michael Bunting
- Executive Producer: Mary Ann Hall
- Producer: Gina Gabay
- Director: Kat Brais
- Stage Manager: Laura Baughman
- Asst Stage Manager: Joyce Gillogly/Laura Moody
- Costume Design: Kathy Dunlop
- Lighting Design: Jeff Boatright
- Box Office Manager: Sandy Sullivan
- House Manager: Mary Ann Hall
- Property Design: Eileen Mullee
- Set Dressing: Mike Smith
- Sound Design: Stan Harris
- Crew: Tony Aiello, Greg Scali
- Publicity: Rich Klare, Ginger Kohles
- Cover Design: Michael Sherman
- Playbill: Ginger Kohles
- Box Office: Sandy Sullivan, Rich Durkin
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2773.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.