Reviews

I know you are in the middle of something right now but we just couldn’t wait to send an email of absolute total support and praise. We attended the performance of, “Mary Poppins” on Friday, June 1, 2018 and were completely blown away with the musicality and professionalism of the entire ensemble. We are new residents of Arnprior and this was our first, “outing” to your theatre presentations. We just loved every minute of the evening. How novel, … having a musical where everyone could sing – and beautifully. How awesome to have a live orchestra to keep us going over the entire evening with GREAT music! We LOVED that you involved the community with a kite building contest. We loved the high school students who performed above and beyond their years. There is NO downside to this performance. We are jaded Southern Ontario people who are used to Shaw and Stratford (and lately the NAC) – well, JUMP BACK guys – here is a truly amazing theatre group who entertains and thrills with style and competence. WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR PERFORMANCE. Keep up the good work. You are a hidden gem in the Upper Ottawa River Valley.

With thanks and gratitude,

Alan and Lynda Bauld, Arnprior Ontario

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Cinderella enchants audience in Arnprior

Arnprior Chronicle Guide Review by Derek Dunn June 6, 2019

The sold-out audience was enchanted long before Prince Christopher walked among its members, kindly requesting they try on the glass slipper he’d found. And yet at that moment on a Sunday afternoon in the Arnprior District High School the room spun into a collective swoon.

Cinderella: Enchanted Edition, the Rodgers & Hammerstein production presented by Two Rivers Musicals, was a delight on so many levels it is difficult to know where to begin.I’ll start at the start, in hope the logic of chronology will temper my enthusiasm.

From the opening song by the Fairy Godmother, played by Mary Ellen Vice, a standard was set. To the delight of the audience – reading into the hearty applause when she finished – that standard would be high. Could it be met and sustained throughout? This is community theatre, small-town at that; the budget must be paltry; the leads are mere high school kids.

 And yet the costumes were well done. The design simple yet precise for the most part (the stain-glassed windows should have been a shade darker.) A glance through the program reveals Two Theatres has almost a decade under its belt and focuses on one product per year.
Ah – yes, and there you have it: the past success of several cast members, from James Hrkach as the royal steward Lionel to Lori Ann Cherney as Queen Constantina to Yeshua Cornejo as King Maximillian. The latter is a student of the performing arts, as are others in the large ensemble.

 

Back to the show, which was almost stolen by the sisters Grace and Joy, Shelby Rougier and Rachel Cornejo. The former’s comedic timing and latter’s slapstick (that channelled Carol Burnett) had the room in stitches on several occasions. Together with the large presences of the stepmother, played by Johanne Penington, they offered a formidable contrast for the leads to address.

Make no mistake. This show belonged to the leads.

Anyone following the arts scene in southern Renfrew county knows what to expect from Thomas Cherney. He is professional well beyond his years. The acting seamless, the singing confident and pointing toward masterly.

And now for Cinderella. I’ve never met Cameron Hunter, and gather she doesn’t have the training or experience Thomas brought to the show. But her joy at being on stage, not unlike Cinderella’s at the ball, radiated to the back of the room and drew us all to her side. Her vocals will gain strength over time, but the innate skill at vibrato truly impressed. Cameron’s dancing is top notch and an obvious source of confidence. A joy to witness.

Cinderella follows that fine moral tradition in theatre that breaks through class lines. The mistreated yet kind-hearted poor girl; the wealthy prince who cleans up by rote: they share in feelings of isolation, of determination to live their authentic selves.

 Yet what brings them together, in the end, is a subtle irony. A break with restraint. “Restraint above all else” is a common refrain throughout the musical.

 

However, it was Cinderella staying beyond midnight and the prince’s frenzied search that crystallized their love. Thomas and Cameron would do well to learn from that. To abandon the restraints of perfectionism and fledgling confidence at the right time, which is to say not one of your choosing, can turn an excellent performer into an extraordinary one.

It is my hope they enjoy a long future in theatre. The arts near or far would benefit greatly from their participation.

And so the curtain settles on another Two Rivers production. It ended with a well-deserved standing ovation. I was among the first up and last down again. Bravo.

 

Link to Article HERE.