In this scene from Little Women, Jo March thinks about what might be happening on the battlefield as she writes a letter to go to the front. The show runs through Dec. 30 at the Chemainus Theatre. (Lexi Bainas/Black Press)

REVIEW: Little Women brings home all the warmth of this winsome favourite

Follow the stories of the March sisters at Chemainus Theatre

By Lexi Bainas

Black Press

Winsome performances from a strong cast highlight the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s production of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, onstage until Dec. 30.

With script and lyrics by the festival’s artistic director, Mark DuMez, and music and lyrics by Jim Hodgkinson, this is a musical presentation of a classic story. And it’s timed to perfectly fit in with your holiday season plans.

There’s lots of music in this presentation, both to accompany the girls, and to move the story along, and composer Hodgkinson is onstage at the piano with Brendan Millbank accompanying him on the cello.

Many of your favourite scenes from Alcott’s books are included, and three that we found particularly memorable are: The Pickwick Club, Camp Laurence and Jo Flogging Her Book in New York. Watch for them; you’ll love them all.

Restless Jo March (Karyn Mott) carries much of the story but her sisters Meg (Valley favourite Samantha Currie) and Beth (Georgia Bennett) are also vital parts of this warm and loving family.

One real highlight of this show is the crisp diction from the actors. It’s not always easy to get the words out in musicals but you can hear it all in Little Women: an extra bonus that helps everyone follow the story line.

And while we’re on the subject of singing, it’s all good with this crowd onstage, but in that department, Bennett really stood out as Beth, despite being cast in one of the quieter parts.

The Chemainus costume crew, under Jessica Oostergo, pushed the boat out for this production, using careful change in dress to show years passing by, but they really go to town in Promenade Des Anglais, a colourful number that follows Laurie and Amy’s travels in Europe.

While several of the cast are making a welcome return in this show, Julien Galipeau (Laurie Lawrence) and Kaitlyn Yott (Amy March) are new to the theatre and make a delightful young couple who finally find each other after tragedy descends on the March family.

But when they return for a happy Christmas homecoming, they find that life goes on and still is sweet and surprising: just like this show.

Order your tickets today at chemainustheatre.ca or call 1-800-565-7738, but get on it right away because favourite days will be gone before you know it.

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