By Hollie G. Davies for Eventful Capital
Theatre-going in Ottawa doesn’t necessarily mean you brunch on the weekends and shop at the new Nordstrom. It’s more accessible than you may think. At the Ottawa Little Theatre, prices start at an economical $12.00 and reach a maximum of only $25.00. Currently playing is a family production for all ages, based on a book by E. Nesbit. It follows the adventures of three children forced by circumstances from comfort in Edwardian London to the countryside where for a summer they become The Railway Children.
The Ottawa Little Theatre isn’t new to the Ottawa’s cultural landscape. In fact, this is its 102nd season, and is Canada’s longest continually-running theatre company. The director of this particular production, Jim McNabb, came out beforehand to say a few words, informing us that what we were about to experience a very different kind of play. Since it’s based on a children’s book from 1905, and has only recently been adapted to theatre, it involves the usual acting, props, and lighting, but the cast also speaks directly to the audience, as a sort of narrative. I was highly impressed with the execution, as there was such excellent flow. For example, a character would be mentioned, they would prance onstage, and seamlessly blend into whatever was going on. In addition, it’s always a pleasure to witness so much participation in moving the set around so graciously – you barely even notice you’ve been warped into watching a different setting.
The actors were top-notch as well, especially the children – Katherine Norland, Elie Dib, and Alexandria Hodgson. They offered a spin on their characters using much of their own personalities, and added humour at exactly the right moments. Alexandria certainly deserves some praise here, since she was taking on the stage for the first time with such professionalism that no one would have known it. With many great actors, designers, and a fantastic production team, it made for a fun-filled, well-acted, family night out at the theatre.
E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children is being presented at the Ottawa Little Theatre until December 13, 2014 with nightly shows at 7 :30 pm and it’s a perfect Holiday outing for everyone and anyone who enjoys the magic of theatre.