by Lynn on December 29, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Tarragon Extra Space, Toronto, Ont.

Devised and Directed by Sue Miner
Built and performed by Ann Powell and David Powell

The beloved Cinderella story transplanted to Upper Canada in the 1830s, with the same whimsy, humour and sweetness that Ann and David Powell imbue all their puppet shows.

The Story. We are in Upper Canada, in Muddy York in the 1830s. Ella is a sweet young woman tending house for her widowed surveyor father. Ella misses her mother. So does her father. He writes to a widowed-woman he knew in England to come out to the new world with her two daughters, with the intention of marrying him. They arrive. The stepmother is a horror as are her two indolent, whiney daughters. The affable Ella is easily picked on. The daughters make fun of her grey dress saying it looks like cinders, hence the new name, Cinderella.

There is to be a three day ball in celebration of changing the name of York to Toronto. Everybody is invited. We know the rest. A fairy godmother helps transform Ella into a beautifully dressed dazzler who goes to the ball and charms Princely Charming, the bachelor son of the ruling family in York. It all works out for Ella of course; for her stepmother and stepsisters, not so much.

The Production. Ann and David Powell are the sister and brother co-creators of this wonderful puppet company that produces shows that are sweet gems. They manipulate the puppets in full view but they are so focused on the puppets at all times that the audience is focused on the puppets as well. There is such delicacy and detail in the manipulation, especially Ann’s working of Ella, it adds another ‘life’ to the character. The puppets are charming and Ann and David Powell add their own wit and whimsy to the proceedings. The creation of the coach from a small pumpkin is beautifully clever, as is Ella’s drab dress becoming a dazzling ball gown in an instant.

Director Sue Miner guides the performances with a sure hand and little fuss. The result is a charming production that delights both children and the adults who bring them.

Produced by Puppetmongers

Opened: Dec. 25, 2015.
Closes: Jan. 1, 2016.
Running Time: 50 minutes.

Tickets: 416-531-1827

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