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(Posted Nov. 24, 2018)

Fairytale Caravan a whimsical journey through storyland
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Ottawa School of Theatre is putting on their holiday season production this weekend and if you enjoy fairtytales you will defintely enjoy their whimsical take on some old classis as well as few original stories.

The Fairytale Caravan opens with a group of fairies searching for the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm who are hiding somewhere in the audience and the only way to bring them out of hiding is to tell a fairy tale. The rest of the play unfolds in a series of vignettes.

The wicked witch lures Hansel, Gretel and Ouna into her house in the Ottawa School of Theatre production of The Fairytale Caravan. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The first vignette is based on the Oscar Wild fairy tale The Selfish Giant in which a giant builds a wall around his garden to keep the children out. With no more children in the garden it becomes the home for the North Wind, Frost and Snow who stay their year round.

Saddened that his garden is always covered in snow and is no loger visited by spring or summer, the Giant falls into a deep drepression. Then one day he hears a noise and see's that the children have crawled throgh a hole in the wall and are playing in the trees and with them spring has returned,

As he is watching the children from his tower the Giant notices that there is one small child sitting in the corner of the garden and all around him it is still winter because he is too small to climb into the tree.

Seeing the small boy the Giant realizes how selfish he has been and he goes down into the garden to help the boy climb into the tree and its branches immediately begin to blosson.

In the weeks and months that follow, the children return to play in the giant's garden, all except for one , the small boy the Giant once helped.

Years pass until the boy finally returns. Overjoyed the Giant runs down to meet his first young friend notices that he has wounds in his hands and feet.

"Who hast doth this to you," demands the Giant, to which the boy explains they are wounds of love.

When the Giant asks the boy who he is an awe falls over him and he drops to his knees. "You let me play once in your garden, today you will come to me in my garden, which is paradise."

When the other children come to the garden, the yougn boy is gone and the Giant is lying dead under the tree, covered in white blossoms.

The other vignettes include Hansel, Gretel and Oona, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Pied Piper, Puss 'N Boots, The King's Breakfast, The Wizard, the Fairy and the Magic Chicken and Chicken Noodle Fairy Tale Soup.

My personal favourites where Puss 'N Boots and Chicken Noodle Fairy Tale Soup which, as far as I can tell, is an original piece.

There are more than 56 students in the cast, over a third of whom are under the age of 12, which directing the play like wrangling a litter of very cute kittens.

The cast also includes some "old" veterans whi have appeared in the holiday production year after year after year like Lennis Poupore, Elizabeth Vroom and Addy Braham.

Kudos to OST artistic director Kathi Langston for coming up with a cohesive concept that includes so many characters and stories.

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

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