Post-modern Mother Goose has laughs and offbeat charm

The title of the latest production by the Driftwood Theatre School is Mother Goose is Eaten by Werewolves. It could also be called A Few Hilarious Tongue-in-Cheek Takes on Sleeping Beauty.

A cast of three dozen young actors, all theatre school members, do a great job carrying off the snappy lines provided by American playwright Steph Deferie, who has set a group of typical fairy tale characters – a prince, a fairy godmother, and wolves, among others – in a modern mindset, and with a few sardonic twists.

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“It’s this mashup of fairy tales and characters and snark and sweets,” producer Joanne Bennison told Coast Reporter.

It’s made all the more funny because the young actors seem to be knowingly mouthing lines and taking on attitudes that are beyond their years, so we’re laughing with them as much as at them.

Queen Prune Danish, played to the hilt by Annabelle Stremlaw, is a preening charicature of the self-involved royal, who rollicks along with other characters with names like Prince Snarky, Vanna Witless and three stooges named Zingo, Larry and Schmoe.

“The challenge of this show is that this whole scenario is presented as spontaneous,” director Ingrid Bilton said in interview during a break at a recent rehearsal. “It’s supposed to be done badly, but they have to do it badly, brilliantly. Any actor will tell you that is the most difficult thing to do.”

Bilton said it’s been a lot of hard work, but the young cast has been “a complete joy” to work with.

“I’ve been in this business 40 years and I believe that kids are no less able to bring a professional performance than adults are,” she said.

Added Bennison: “We have Gabriel Ryan [playing two roles], who’s been with the theatre school for many years. But some of these actors are brand new and have never been on stage before.”

All are in good guiding hands with Bennison, Bilton and an experienced and devoted backstage crew, who have put together a fun and funny production.

Mother Goose is Eaten by Werewolves is on at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons for six performances: Friday, April 6, and Friday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m.; with 2 p.m. matinées on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, and Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5. Tickets are available in Gibsons at Laedeli, Blackberry Shop and Giggle ‘n’ Bloom; in Sechelt and Strait Music; and online at www.share-there.com

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