Volume 6 Week 27

Sunday, Jan. 41


Updated Nov. 21

Updated July 12

Phil McNeely
Posted Feb. 12





(Posted 1:30 p.m., Dec. 11)

OYP Christmas class delivers cracker of a Nutcracker
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Marie and Fritz play with their new toys in the opening scene of OYP's all ages Christmas Class production of 'The Story of The Nutcracker'. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Before going to see the Orleans Young Players all ages Christmas class production "The Story of The Nutcracker" at the Orléans Theatre on Saturday, the only version of the traditional holiday classic I ever saw was the animated Barbie version on video cassette.

As embarassing as it is to admit, it explains why I was looking forward to seeing OYP's production of Michele L. Vacca's version of the story about a young girl who dreams about her toys coming to life in the Land of Enchanted Dreams. And while Vacca's adaptation of "The Nutcracker Story" is very much an abridged version of the popular ballet, it still contains all the elements that makes it so magical.

In the opening act, Herr Drosselmeyer brings three toys for Marie and Fritz -- a doll, a soldier and a nutcracker. After the family goes to bed, Marie sneaks back downstairs to say goodnight to her new friends and falls asleep with the nutcracker in her arms which is when the magic begins.

Marie is transported off to the Land of Enchanted Dreams where her father becomes the Nutcracker, her mother the Snow Queen and Herr Drosselmeyer the Northwind.

In the second act, the Mouse King appears with his mouse warriors and a sword fight ensues between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

As the Mouse King begins to get the upper hand, Marie intervenes by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King which breaks a spell cast on the Nutcracker and turns him back into a handsome prince.

The Prince, the Soldier, Miss Clara and Marie then make their way to the Land of Sweets where they meet the Snow King and Queen and the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy along with a number of delighful characters including Tutti Frutti, Bonbon, two pages named Taffy and Butterscotch, the gatekeeper and the gatekeeper's helper.

The play ends with Marie waking up with the Nutcracker still firmly in her grasp and the soldier and doll by her side. Thrilled that the young girl enjoyed her adventure, Herr Drosselmeyer delivers a universal message to the audience about the magic of Christmas dreams.

The magic of OYP's production of "The Story of The Nutcracker", was in the tremendous cast under the guidance of director Rachel Armitage and choreographer Zita Nyarady.

While the entire cast was marvellous I particularly enjoyed the performances of Kathryn Erickson as Marie, Nadeem Oudeh as Fritz, Jessica Barlow as Miss Clara and Madison Meyer as Tutti-Frutti and the gatekeeper.

Sherry Thurig was strong as always as Herr Drosselmeyer and the Northwind and Megan Way was resplendent as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The remainder of the cast included Paul Angelhart as the Soldier and the Snow King; Zachary Hanson as the Nutcracker and the father; Sylvie Lapointe-Lemaire as the mother and the Snow Queen; Brad Hart as Bonbon and the Mouse King; Kyle Way as Taffy the page; Shae-Lynn Beiersdorfer as the gatekeeper's assistant and Scott Beiersdorfer as Butterscotch.

For more information about the Orleans Young Players Theatrical School and upcoming classes visit their website at www.oyplayers.on.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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