The story begins in an idyllic setting where we see Mother Nature (Nicole Hrgetic in a lovely, colourful costume by Orly Zebak) with frogs, bees, birds and an apple tree. Because the marionette work was done both on stage and in the aisles, the audience is enveloped in this merry environment. And what’s even cooler about the apple tree is that it eventually drops fruit!
Unfortunately for Mother Nature, the citizens become scared of people from another town. After promoting this fear of strangers, the King (Kevin Morris) takes power and imprisons Mother Nature. The King also bans artists since he hates books, music and all forms of creative expression.
Lucky for the people, Alex (Angela Sun) enters the picture. This “weirdo” knows that little girls must do more than sit still and be quiet. Alex challenges the King by dancing and singing, and at one point she even draws a caterpillar which takes life on the King’s shoulder. This moment is particularly amusing as we see the creepy crawly puppet freak out the King.
The original “happy and free” music by the talented Alycia Novak gives whimsy to Alex The Artist. The beautiful voices of the cast (especially Hrgetic and Sun) make the most of Novak’s catchy music. A sketchbook that turns brushes of paint into nature’s colours makes the show even more magical. And while there are warm and fuzzy themes about originality, wonder and tolerance, the story never gets preachy.
Finally, the kids get programs on which they can colour Alex The Artist and even get autographs from the actors. Those signatures as well as the mini-speech by Novak at the end of the play solidify a connection between the families and the cast and crew. I recommend seeing Alex The Artist.
- Alex The Artist plays at the George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl.)
- Tickets for Kidsfest shows are $5 for kids (age 12 and younger); adults pay $12.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- The George Ignatieff Theatre is wheelchair-accessible, and has wide aisles for easy mid-show exits.
- Don’t miss the Kidsfest club located on the lawn adjacent to the venue! Free activities for children (3-12) and caregivers run every day of the festival: see website for details.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 5th, 02:30 pm
- Friday July 7th, 05:15 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 02:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 11:30 am
- Wednesday July 12th, 10:00 am
- Friday July 14th, 03:00 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 10:00 am
Image supplied by the company