Kaleidoscope puts new spin on popular children’s tale

James and the Giant Peach hits the stage Nov. 12 and 13 at the McPherson Playhouse

Rowan Walters

You could say adapting to a new name and new home in Saanich has been just peachy for Kaleidoscope Theatre.

Now known as Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People, the troupe is happily settled into the old Cloverdale elementary school on Richmond Road and preparing for its upcoming presentation of James and the Giant Peach, said Kaleidoscope marketing manager Sean Dyer.

While finding space has been an ongoing issue for a lot of performing arts groups, Kaleidoscope is happy to be in Saanich, he added.

“We’re so much more comfortable here,” Dyer said.”It’s a fantastic space that suits us perfectly. It’s a great space for classes, and we’ve seen an increase in enrolment already. We really hope we can stay here.”

The challenge of coming up with a peach large enough and versatile enough for Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale was ably handled by production designer James “Jimbo” Insell, said Roderick Glanville, artistic director for Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People.

“The challenge was how do you make it multi-purpose so people can crawl on it,” Glanville said.

Working with Studio Robozzo, Insell designed a freestanding 12-foot-tall peach that intricately interlocks like a jigsaw puzzle.

Glanville is putting a different spin on James and the Giant Peach, but staying true to the original story of a downtrodden boy overcoming his fears with the help of a group of insect friends.

“The story we do is based on an adaptation by David Word that starts at the end of the story and goes back to the beginning,” Glanville explained. “The characters still portray what happened, but in a way that gives the actors and director more creative flexibility. It’s absolutely outrageously fun to put on a show that empowers young James. Any story we do empowers young people in the same way Dahl did in his stories.”

Kaleidoscope’s take on James and the Giant Peach includes original music, puppets, shadow play and a large-scale set.

Glanville saw a production of Dahl’s last book, Matilda, in New York recently and would like to tackle that in the future.

“I like to sit in the audience and see how kids react,” he said. “It helps shape future programming.”

A talented, seasoned cast brings the story to life. Valerie Sing Turner, a professional actor from Vancouver, is joined by Ingrid Moore, Jane Gaudet, Andrew Lynch, Sarah Murphey and Jarod Crockett. The role of James is introduced by Daniel Yaxley, who will also perform in Kaleidoscope’s winter show, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

James and the Giant Peach hits the stage Nov. 12 and 13 at the McPherson Playhouse, with a special schools-only performance on Nov. 14. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased online at rmts.bc.ca.

For more information, contact sean@kaleidoscope.bc.ca, or call 250-383-8124.

 

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