The Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Christchurch

10/04/2024 - 13/04/2024

Production Details

Book, Music and Lyrics: Paul Graham Brown
Director and producer: Louise Glossop
Musical Supervision: Paul Graham Brown

Enchanting Productions Ltd

Enchanting Productions’ latest musical weaves a tale of loss, love and the extraordinary consequences of childish lies or ‘fairystories.’

The story is set in Yorkshire around the Cottingley Fairies saga where two children manage to convince Sherlock Holmes’s protege, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that the supernatural really does exist through the imagery of fairies caught in some photographs.

Set in the 1920s, ‘Fairystories’ is an intriguing true story which has beautiful music and costumes, with much-loved Ali Harper and Roy Snow as the romantic leads, and Sophie Landis, Oscar Parkes, Blair McHugh and Elijah Moore.

Director and Producer Louise Glossop’s previous Enchanting Productions shows – A Little Night Music and Secret Garden – were a smash hit in recent years in Christchurch.

This production is on at The Piano for five shows only.

Website: www.enchantingproductions.co.nz for more information
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnchantingProductionsNZ

Venue: The Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Christchurch

April 10-13 2024, 7:30pm
Sat 13 Apr 2024, 2:00pm–4:00pm (Matinee)
All ages

Ticket Prices: $25-$55 plus booking fees
Adult: $55 plus BF
Senior: $50 plus BF
Student / Child: $25 plus BF
Group of 6+: $50 plus BF

Ali Harper: as Elsie van Dorsen
Roy Snow: as Edward Coleshaw
Sophie Landis: as Polly van Dorsen
Oscar Parkes: as Henry Coleshaw
Blair McHugh: as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Cast bios here: https://www.enchantingproductions.co.nz/fairystories-cast

Photographer / videographer: Darin Young
Set Design: Ben Glossop

Musical , Theatre ,

2hrs (including a 20min interval)

Exceptionally strong cast handle action and music with assurance.

Review by Lindsay Clark 11th Apr 2024

Anticipation is more often than not an unhelpful springboard for the theatregoer and anyone expecting gauzy flutterings from this premiere production will certainly leave with revised ideas.

Although based on the famous 1920s investigations into the Cottingley Fairies (‘recorded’ at the bottom of a rural English garden), Paul Graham Brown’s musical drama is interested in a wider social context. Moreover, a fine chamber ensemble orchestrated by Gabriel Baird lifts the experience to another dimension.

Extensive programme notes explain not only the patient and wide-ranging development required, but also reference post-war social conditions of the time, when enthusiastic approaches to supernatural experience, spiritualism, theosophy and séance sometimes offered relief to a shattered Europe.

As the writer clarifies,’Fairystories tells the story of people brought together in this time of change. It tells of how letting go and moving on to face the unknown nearly always require soul searching and much courage’. The fairies do have their moments though.

The early scenes are a simple enough introduction to three sets of characters who drive the whole.

In their country Yorkshire cottage, widowed amateur photographer, Edward Coleshaw is reprimanding his son Henry, who seeks refuge in a solitary woodland spot where he hears the voices of his ‘friends’. In his head? Real? We pay attention.

In a neighbouring cottage, brave, once-wealthy Elsie Van Dorsen, now widowed, is escaping her South African past with her very reluctant daughter, Polly, in tow. On the open road, we meet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his chauffeur Toby, completing a set of characters that will furnish a narrative more complicated than first impressions.

There are attractions and antagonisms to negotiate, fantasies, rejections and confessions to absorb and, through it all, the world suggested by those woodland voices to ponder.

An exceptionally strong cast handles both scripted action and the music that so confidently enhances it with assurance. As Edward, Roy Snow quickly establishes his credibility as a careful recorder of images and light, at the same time giving us a down-to-earth Yorkshireman. Across the way, neighbour Elsie, played by Ali Harper, brings radiance of her own which cannot be dimmed by the domestic chores now facing her. Both add fine vocal colour in their musical encounters.

They are not outdone by the spirited Sophie Landis as Polly and Oscar Parkes’ nicely controlled Henry. Blair McHugh as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is in top form and voice as the authority figure, ably supported by Elijah Moore as Toby.

Musically and in terms of the characterisation she directs, Louise Glossop’s production is colourfully secure. The challenge of a visual design is less successful, but the enjoyment cup is still, at least, three-quarters full.


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