Arts & Culture

More than children's play, Iron Peggy has universal appeal

By Lorraine Graves

Published 2:56 PDT, Wed May 29, 2019

Last Updated: 3:46 PDT, Tue July 2, 2019

Because the Vancouver Children’s Festival is now at Granville Island, it gets around one of their traditional problems, the mud that so often plagued the fête at Vanier Park. Offering extra parking, good transit access, this walkable venue uses the theatre spaces to top capacity.

Because the Vancouver Children’s Festival is now at Granville Island, it gets around one of their traditional problems, the mud that so often plagued the fête at Vanier Park. Offering extra parking, good transit access, this walkable venue uses the theatre spaces to top capacity.

One of the festival’s offerings, “Iron Peggy” attracts children of all ages and more than a few adults.

The play opens with Peg, a silent boarding school student, in the principal’s office, being asked who beat her up. Offering only platitudes for the girl’s dilemma, the teacher tells her not to worry, “New schools get old. You’ll be fine.”

But things for Peg aren’t fine. The bullying, both physical and emotional, continues at the hands of the other girls. In the face of relentless cruelty only Peg’s letters from her grandmother offer hope in the form of a visit away from school with her grandmother come summer.

When life couldn’t be any bleaker, Peg’s beloved grandmother, her rock, dies. There will be no respite come summer holidays.

At that point, three little tin soldiers arrive from grandma’s estate. As they come to life, claiming they too are “Indian” like Peg’s mom and grandmother, all becomes clear as they explain they are Indigenous and that Christopher Columbus was mistaken when he named the First Nations peoples.

Rock solid performances from all the actors, Taran Kootenhayoo, Deneh’Cho Thompson, Raes Calbert, and as Peg, Adele Noronha, bring Maria Clements’ spot-on script to life.

Great use of multimedia with the cleverly-designed and flexible set rounds out this quality production. The sound and music both evoked and supported the emotions, though some of the cello music came out a bit fuzzy, perhaps a function of the sound system.

Magic realism offers lessons and hope to Peg, and humour for the audience. The laughter throughout the young audience was a joy to hear.

Multiple sources including The Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program, “Iron Peggy” runs at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island through Friday, May 31.

Ticketsor phone 1-877-840-0457.

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