For those who enjoy the beloved book series, “Anne of Green Gables,” this show is a must see. The stage is set like the pages of a book, and the book’s special narrative comes alive through the actors and scenery almost as if you can hear the pages turning. Mikayla Kirr as Anne Shirley (Neve Holloway also portrays the role) immersed herself in this character making it easy for the audience to delve into the story. From start to finish, the entire cast projected the author’s voice all the way to the back of the auditorium without faltering.
Kathleen Bleutge takes a unique approach by presenting the play in book form with a narrator introducing the scenes and then playing with the story a bit to add humor, wisdom and empathy. The narrator poised on the right– introduces, reacts and, enjoys the various scenes acted out on stage. And as an audience member, it feels like we have actually entered the book or if you will excuse the comparison, stepped into the yellow brick road to Avonlea as we get to travel back in time, envision the pages and see the story come alive on stage.
…there are times in the play where you will laugh, then cry and certainly have your heart warmed.
These books are very popular and for those who grew up with them, the actors certainly play the parts well and by the book, as it were, while offering the director’s own interpretation of the characters. Lucy Montgomery did a yeoman’s job as the narrator, setting the scene as well as setting a storytelling tone for the play which was both comforting and supportive.
Marie Casey did a wonderful job with the lighting, highlighting the scenes’ importance while dimly lighting action in the background, setting each mood, which really added to each scene. Terry Nelson DiMurro’s sets were simple yet complex in their nature as the simplicity was just enough to give purpose to the scene and allow us to envision the whole of the picture and, of course, the dialogue which made it that much easier for the audience to follow along. Judith Harmons’ costumes were spot on to the times and the characters which help transform the story to that time period.
There is a Pollyanna-esque feel to the play which lends to its appeal and there are times in the play where you will laugh, then cry and certainly have your heart warmed. Those that have not read the novels or are unfamiliar will have no problem attending this play and receiving an honorary scholarship for knowledge in the series.
One may be so taken with this play that they may take it upon themselves to read the books to learn more about Avonlea and Anne’s adventures. All in all, it was a nice family-friendly play with a good wholesome love story and you are also given some “Anne” isms and wisdom to carry out with you as a parting gift, remember the dreams dearest to you are in your heart.
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.
“Anne of Green Gables” plays through October 13, 2019, at Seneca Ridge Middle School, 98 Seneca Ridge Drive, Sterling, VA. 20164. Purchase tickets at the box office or online.