The Arts

The Admirable Crichton

The Admirable Crichton featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron
August 26, 2011

The Admirable Crichton
Shaw Festival
Written by J.M. Barrie
Directed by Morris Panych
Performed by Steven Sutcliffe, Nicole Underhay, , Kyle Blair, Martin Happer, Marla McLean, Moya O’Connell and Cherissa Richards
Festival Theatre
Jun. 22 to Oct. 29, 2011

We can always expect the unexpected from director Morris Panych. His Shaw Festival production of J.M. Barrie’s 1902 The Admirable Crichton is full of Panych’s usual excess, but it works.

In the plot, the Duke of Loam’s yacht is shipwrecked, and the butler Crichton, played by Steven Sutcliffe, becomes the king of their desert island because of his superior survival skills. Crichton also has a romance with the Duke’s daughter, played by Nicole Underhay.

Here is a list of just some of the goodies. The show has been updated to the 1920s and Ryan deSouza is on hand with a live ensemble playing a cinematic period score.

Singing/dancing actors in animal masks narrate Barrie’s stage directions. Ken MacDonald’s desert island set is a scene of wonder, while Charlotte Dean’s costumes are gorgeously imaginative.

This innovative production combines whimsy and enchantment in provocative ways. The play should not be missed.

The Admirable Crichton continues at the Shaw Festival Theatre until Oct. 29.

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