‘Anne of Green Gables’ Is Timeless
NAPPANEE — From the book by the same name, the story of “Anne of Greene Gables” is some 100 years old but it tugs at your heart strings and makes you want to cry, while at times makes you laugh at the antics for this young orphan. The musical is currently on stage at Amish Acre’s Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee.
Katherine Searcy is Anne, a young, red headed, orphan girl sent to stay with a brother and sister at Greene Gables. She’s a spunky youngster who makes her home with them even though they wanted a boy to help on the farm. As does the audience, the Cuthberts both fall in love with their new charge.
Searcy is perfect for the part and shows the right amount of spunk. She holds the audience in the palm of her hand from the time the curtain opens until the end of the musical. While she has no solos, she joins others in the cast in such songs as “Around the Bend,” “I Can Stay,” “It was Not Because of Gilbert Glythe, “Drunk!” and “The Clock Keeps Ticking.”
The story follows Anne’s life with the Cuthberts – Marilla (Heidi Ferris) and her brother, Matthew (Brooks Cline), from the time she arrives until she finishes school and is about to become a school teacher. Both Ferris and Cline are perfect for the parts they play. As the older couple finds themselves faced with a girl instead of a boy, Marilla claims they can’t keep her and takes awhile to warm up to this new person in her life, while Matthew adapts quickly.
Drew Wells is Gilbert Blythe, the neighbor boy who is a pain in Anne’s life. Wells is suited perfectly for the part and turns in an outstanding performance.
During the production, Anne notes she has never belonged to anyone and no one can be happy with red hair, something Gilbert often teases her about.
Enter Rachel Lynde (Anna Wentworth), a neighbor from down the road. She’s outspoken and quite often criticizes Anne for her actions. As far as she is concerned, Anne, can do nothing right. Wentworth does a fantastic job as the brash woman in the production.
Soon after arriving at Green Acres, Anne makes friends with Diana Barry (Ally Merrill), a young girl who lives down the road. The duo is perfect and Merrill adds just the right touch of humor to keep the audience in stitches. One night while the girls are alone, Diana drinks too much of Marilla’s alcoholic beverage and eventually passes out, Merrill plays the part to the hilt.
Some of the scenes feature the children in school, where Glbert is constantly teasing Anne. Upon graduation both Gilbert and Anne win scholarships.
As the production moves to a close, Matthew suffers a heart attack and dies and Marilla begins to lose her sight. Before he dies, Matthew confesses he would rather have Anne than a boy. Marilla comes to the conclusion she needs to sell Green Gables. But does she? Or, does Anne save the day?
What about Gilbert? Where does he fit in Anne’s life?
Hats off the rest of the cast for jobs well done — Laurne Brendel is Mrs. Berry, Miggie Snyder is Josie Pye, Cash Maciel is the postmaster and a member of the ensemble, Mark Whitman is Mr. Phillips and Dave Kempher is the doctor and a member of the ensemble.
If you miss “Anne of Green Gables,” you will have missed a special production. It’s on stage through Oct. 13. For tickets call (800) 800-4942 or go online at amishacres.com.