Tich Wilson as Pippi Longstocking, the title character in Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People’s latest production, running Dec. 28-30 at the McPherson Playhouse. Courtesy Kaleidoscope Theatre

Tich Wilson as Pippi Longstocking, the title character in Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People’s latest production, running Dec. 28-30 at the McPherson Playhouse. Courtesy Kaleidoscope Theatre

Kaleidoscope’s Pippi Longstocking promises ‘rollicking fun’

Family oriented holiday entertainment on tap Dec. 28-30 at the McPherson

What do you get when you mix energetic young actors with a collection of local stage veterans and give them a beloved story to tell?

A whole lot of fun, says Roderick Glanville, artistic director with Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People, which is staging Pippi Longstocking from Dec. 28-30 at the McPherson Playhouse.

“This musical is really quite remarkable. It’s a fun frolicking adventure and no two scenes are the same,” he says.

The headstrong and fun-loving Pippi character was created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren in the 1940s and has been played on stage thousands of times around the world in the decades since. The version being staged by Kaleidoscope, adapted for the stage by Sebastian and Staffan Götestam, was unfamiliar to Glanville when the company took it on. It was suggested as a potential project by a Kaleidoscope intern, who referred to the story by its German name, Pippi Langstrumpf.

Glanville recognized quickly, however, that this portrayal of Pippi, which captures her character by blending elements from various books, matched up well with the goals of the Victoria theatre group.

“What I love about Pippi Longstocking is it ties into all our themes of youth empowerment … it encourages Kaleidoscope’s mandate to encourage critical thinking in youth,” he says.

While the story was developed in Europe, the themes are universal, he adds. “What’s important is that Pippi’s mission statement is to play, and I think that’s what we need to encourage children to do, but also adults as well.”

Not only does this story tick all the boxes for the company, Glanville says – “it’s fun, funny and musical” – the cast and crew have been a delight to work with.

In the cast of 47 are seasoned local performers Danny Costain, Steve Ivings, Lena Palermo from Peninsula Players, Michael Forbes from the morning radio team Forbes and Marshall, and Tich Wilson in the title role.

They’re joined by a “rock solid” supporting cast of all ages that includes a pair of talented young up and comers in the roles of Pippi’s neighbours and best friends, Tommy and Annika.

The youngest actor in the company is age six and she joins her mother in the cast, one of three mother-daughter combos who are “on stage together creating,” Glanville notes. “It’s a great way for them to spend time together – they get a chance to play over the holidays.”

People familiar with the books or one of the handful of Pippi movies or shorts made over the years in English can be assured of seeing the character get up to her usual hijinks. Those scenes of fun and friendship, interspersed with beautiful and often touching songs accompanied by a live band, make this family production one not to miss over the holiday season.

The 90-minute shows (including intermission) happen Friday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. and on the weekend at 2 p.m. both Dec. 29 and 30. Tickets are $45 or $25 for students and children 16-under, available online at rmts.bc.ca, by phone at 250-386-6121 or in person at the Royal or McPherson box offices.

editor@mondaymag.com

Live theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Be A Voice: A Musician’s Guide for the Live Performance, unlocks the keys to establishing a presence on stage. (Contributed - Jason Parsons)
Vancouver Islander writes the book on live performances

Jason Parsons’ new book unlocks the keys to establishing a presence on stage

VIU’s ‘Portal’ magazine is turning 30 years old. (Image courtesy Chantelle Calitz)
Vancouver Island University’s literary magazine ‘Portal’ celebrates 30 years

Virtual launch featuring contributor readings took place April 30

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

Most Read