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WILDE TALES Royal George Theatre/Shaw Festival
By
Jul 5, 2017, 11:13
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Shaw Festival
Through October 7
WILDE TALES Court House Theatre/Shaw Festival

From his perch on the shadowy edge of patrician society, Oscar Wilde could see things as few others could.
That’s not just his quartet of great plays but also his children’s stories.
Creating potential roles for herself, actor and Shaw Festival Associate Artistic Director Kate Hennig has turned four of those stories into this year’s edition of the Shaw Festival’s Lunchtime Theatre, "Wilde Tales."
She’s working with “The Remarkable Rocket,” “The Selfish Giant,” “The Nightingale and the Rose” and “The Happy Prince.”
“Rocket” is the glue holding it all together, a tale of a firecracker rocket which never quite fires, frustrating the giant ego of the paper and gunpowder toy, with a wonderful performance from Sanjay Taylor.
“Giant” shows the redeeming power of young people.
“Nightingale” shows dedication to life beyond personal survival.
“Happy Prince” reflects a ruler whose dedication to his people survives death.
Director Christine Brubaker is working with a relatively small and young (for the Shaw) cast of six on a minimal set in the Court House.
Besides the professional actors, the director is working with a shifting array of young people who take part in short training course just before the show.
They sit on the edge of the stage and take part a few times in the actual show.
Designer Jennifer Goodman created a set with only one fixed section, the giant gateway to the Selfish Giant’s walled garden.
Of course, he becomes a nice guy and the children enjoy the garden.
These aren’t subtle stories for kids but they are specific.
Judging by the smiles on the kids in the secondary cast it’s a great show for young people.
It’s a solid cast besides Taylor’s rocket, Marion Day’s Happy Prince, Emily Lukasik’s Nightingale, Jonathan Tan’s acrobatic Frog and Kelly Wong’s Giant.
Somewhere, there are young people seeing this show who will grow up to be center stage in the theater because of the influence of this show.
Adults accompanying young people in the crowd seemed just as happy, probably because they could have lunch before the 2 PM shows.
They all liked “Wilde Tales” and with good reason and that’s why it’s worth heading to Niagara-on-the-Lake a few hours earlier to see the show.

M.D.

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