By David F. Rooney
They may not have a cast of thousands but the directors of Flying Arrow Productions’ presentation of The Paper Bag Princess must at times have felt like they were wrestling with a bag of cats during their dress rehearsal of The Paper Bag Princess on Wednesday.
By the way, that’s not meant as a criticism, but as simply a description of what it must feel like when you are riding herd on 27 children. How did Artistic Director Anita Hallewas and hr colleagues do? Well, I’d class The Paper Bag Princess as must-see family entertainment that is well worth the price of admission to the air conditioned Performing Arts Centre on a hot and sultry summer evening.
Older cast members like the talented Hailey Christie-Hoyle who plays the paper-bag girl herself, didn’t need much discipline, but many of the younger kids certainly did. While that marred the dress rehearsal, they should be fine when they open at the Performing Arts Centre tonight — Thursday, July 28 — at 6 pm.
The sets are simple but are nonetheless very effective and the lighting is excellent. Christie-Hoyle is superb and Roman Beruschi is quite convincing in his role as a self-absorbed and vaguely conceited princeling. But Maxine Opatril was, to my mind, the belle of the rehearsal as the dragon.
With music performed by Tristan Lahue and Theo Luttrell with Marvin Dickau and choreography by Choreography Director Bex Reid-Parkin, this retelling of Robert Munsch’s delightful original story by Calgary composer and writer Joe Slabe is terrific family entertainment.
The main characters are ably supported by the wonderfully catty Ladies-in-Waiting played by Maya McDowell, Autumn South, Jade Davies, Arwynn Russell, Amy Harder and Emilie Corbett. And you can’t ignore the chorus, either, which includes Lords-in-Waiting Thomas MacDonald and Loucius Cadieux as well as Pearl Pratico, Jazmine Crombie, Freyja Nielson, Lia Morrow, Brennan Patry, Madeline Hobgood, Marina Suengas, Kieran MacIntosh, Suri Stewardson, Lutza Berkenbosch, Monica Parkin, Luca Beruschi, Abby Maloney, Ruby Serrouya, Casey Howe and Loren Morabito.
I enjoyed the dress rehearsal despite some of its issues (Kids! What can you do?) and I think many adults — even those of you who are, like me, now without children at home — will find this musical play very entertaining.
The play will be performed Thursday, July 29, at 6 pm at the Performing Arts Centre and on Friday, July 29, at 10 am and 6 pm. Tickets are available at the Credit Union, at the door and online at http://flyingarrowproductions.bigcartel.com/.
Please click here to view the program. Click here to learn more about Flying Arrow Productions. In the meantime here are a few photos from the dress rehearsal that I hope you’ll enjoy: