As the days get darker and colder, the Olathe Civic Theatre Association responds to the chilly season by putting its audience in cozy seats for their interpretation of the famous coming-of-age-tale, Anne of Green Gables, directed by Heather Tinker. You’ll certainly feel at home, looking at the early 1900’s styled stage, maybe going to get a cookie and some hot cider during intermission to keep you warm and full while you watch the story of an orphaned girl find a family and grow into a young adult.
Earnest Anne Shirley (Tessa Leuchtefeld) talks and talks and talks her way into our hearts through stories full of hopes and dreams and probably too much narrative involved. She forms close bonds with her first hesitant but eventually loving caretakers, Matthew Cuthbert (Don Leonard) and Marilla Cuthbert (Sally Schumucker). It is clear that these new parents feel a little overwhelmed by Anne’s constant need to talk but end up appreciating her wholesome heart. It is easy to fall in love with the endearing relationships between mother and daughter, as Schumucker remains stern yet protective of her daughter, and speaks with an impressive period specific accent.
As the familial spirit spreads throughout the theatre, you become attached and proud of this largely novice cast. With occasional flurries of children, heartfelt bonds, and a few tragic moments, this quiet, good-natured production is one for families of all ages to see. Though it is difficult to see its entirety due to the wide staging, and perhaps does lag in a few spots, the cast does bring back memories of your own upbringing. A comforting contrast to the busyness of life today, you’ll leave feeling safe and reminded of home.