Over the past number of years the Orléans Young Players Theatre School, has put on a number of winter productions which, besides being extremely entertaining, offered the audience an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit.
Sebastien Melbourne was 'brilliant' as the Grinch in the OYP production of 'Winter Tails'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
The theatre school's latest installment in its winter series, Winter Tails, was performed by the theatre school's "All Ages Family Class" this past weekend in the cozy confines of the Richcraft Theatre.
The play was actually a collection of holiday classics including Olive, the Other Reindeer, Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, delivered in a somewhat condensed format.
Winter Tails opens the Beaver family beseeching their parents to read some of their favourite Christmas stories. First on the list is The 10th Reindeer, also known as Olive, the Other Reindeer. "Olive" is Rudolph's friend who has to give up her vacuuming to replace a sick Rudolph at the head of Santa's sleigh.
The funny take on the line "All of the other reindeer..." in the song "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", was followed by Christmas Kites, which is based on the Truman Capote short story, A Christmas Memory, about a young boy named Buddy and his much older cousin Queenie.
The two cousins, who bake Christmas cakes together and venture off into the bush to chop down a Christmas tree, also make each other a kite and fly them together on Christmas day as they had done during Christmases past. Unbeknownst to the cousins, however, this is the last Christmas they will spend together as Buddy must soon go off to school and Queenie develops dementia and eventually forgets her young cousin's name.
Queenie was played admirably by Orléans Older Players veteran Biz MacDonald, while Bruce Deachman narrated the piece as an older Buddy, looking back on a fond memory. The younger Buddy was played by David Corrigan who, based on his performance, has a bright future on the stage.
The third act was a rendition of the poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas performed by members of the cast using shadows cast from paper cutouts.
The fourth act was a Coles Notes version of my personal favourite, Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. It had all the elements of the Charles Shultz classic, including Snoopy's award-winning dog house, colourful aluminum Christmas trees, and a skimpy real tree brought to life by the Peanuts gang after Charlie Brown had "killed" it.
After a brief intermission, the OYP cast saved their best for last with How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Sebastien Melbourne as the Grinch and Sarah Allen as his trusted canine Max. I say "starring" because Melbourne stole the show as the dastardly Grinch.
The Orléans Young Players Theatre School offers classes for all ages throughout the year. To find out more visit www.oypts.com.