Caravan Farm Theatre puts the magic back into Christmas
The word magical is often used to describe a human emotion or sentiment that overrides the feeling of just being human. For me, at this time of year, it comes from the glowing lights, the cold, crisp air, and, yes, a little magic along the way.
For those who need more of that in their lives, I suggest you hitch a ride to the backwoods of Spallumcheen and hop aboard a sleigh at Caravan Farm Theatre to see the farm’s latest winter sleigh-ride production, Little Brother, Little Sister.
It’s not hard to feel tingly from head to toe when the farm’s Clydesdales and, in my case three small but very powerful Norwegian fjords, jolt you out of your Bailey’s and hot chocolate haze to pull you through field and forest to experience the sights.
And it’s always guaranteed that an audience member, in Elf-like fashion, will ignite the spirits with a carol sing-along.
It’s magical, musical and one of the most fun times you’ll have in below freezing temperatures.
Adapted from a lesser-known Grimm fairytale by Adam Underwood, Little Brother, Little Sister puts on an extra dose of Caravan magic. A lot of this is due to the show’s aesthetic. The crew has worked tirelessly to make this a breathtaking experience.
The lighting alone, thanks to Enderby’s Stephan Bircher, is incredible with its mystical hues, dimmed chandeliers and even a blazing sun.
Designed by Drew Facey, the sets—framed by deer horn-like branches, birch stands and pine fronds—are gorgeous, even King Oberon would approve. And the costumes, designed by Deitra Kalyn, are medieval chic, if there’s such a thing,
Introducing us into this spell is the baritoned narrator, Babbling Brook (welcome back, Bruce Horak), whose silly rhymes match his wit, and whose nimble guitar playing accompanies the show seemingly throughout.
The story follows, you guessed it, two siblings, Little Brother (Daniel Doheny) and Little Sister (Rebecca Auerbach), who are kept prisoner by their evil guardian, Ms. Grindle. Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm have concocted a lot of evil characters in their day, but none as mean as this one. Played by the wickedly delightful Elinor Holt, whose cackle rivals that of Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West, it’s best to hide your hands in woolly mittens when she comes around.
And her one-eyed daughter, Selma (Donna Soares), is also (a word that rhymes with witch.)
When Little Brother and Little Sister decide to run away from Ms. Grindle’s evil grasp, she makes a curse that whomever drinks from the babbling brook will be turned into a fawn.
Now we’ve seen a few woodland creatures at Caravan’s winter shows, but never one as cute as Little Fawn, make that Brother. (The lucky Doheny gets to stay warm and looks more adorable than Bambi.)
When Little Brother does what fawns do, and goes frolicking in the woods, Little Sister is left on her own and has a close encounter with a huntsman who turns out to be the ruler of the land, King Roland (Chris Cochrane.
Of course, love conquers evil in this sweet and lovely story.
Shows are 4, 6 and 8 p.m. most nights until Jan. 4. Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.