“Keep your hands out of the sugar bowl!” Snaps Aunt Polly during the first act of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by the Gallery 7 Theatre and Performing Arts Society. At those words I looked across the aisle at my husband who was grinning broadly, then we both turned to look at our own little sugar bowl thief who sat enchanted by the performance.
I didn’t know what to expect going into the Auditorium at MEI in Abbottsford, as I have never read the book. I was much more concerned about whether my children would sit through it or if my husband, who is a huge Mark Twain fan, would enjoy the play. I needn’t have worried because as soon as the show started, we were all engrossed in the story.
Laura Eason’s adaptation of the classic Adventures of Tom Sawyer was true to the narrative without changing the direction of the story. Live theatre is just another way to share both beloved stories and history with our children and because of the stripped down, simple staging, there was little to distract from the story.
Our ears took a few minutes to become attuned to the accents and era dialect; however once they did we were able to enjoy the nuances of the tale. While some parts of the story were omitted, the play hit the high points of the classic (Dead cats! Graveyards! Pirates!) and the characters were well portrayed by the enthusiastic actors who clearly looked to be having a great time. They did so well that I don’t think my kids even noticed that the preacher, teacher and Injun Joe were the same man!
The murder of Doc Robinson by the very angry Injun Joe is the only part of the play that might scare little ones, however my children (6 & 8 years old) watched it very carefully but did not seem frightened. When we broke for intermission my son (not realizing that this was merely a break) asked if we could come back and see the rest of the show because he wanted to find out if the “bad man goes to jail”.
In the end, the show gets thumbs up all around from our family including from the man who rarely likes adaptations of his favourite books! I’d call that a win!
If you want to check out this spin on a classic, you still can! There are 2 shows today (Saturday November 16, 2013) with the final performances of the run next week November 21-23.