Arts & Culture

A funny fairy tale with a British bent kicks off Olympia Family Theater’s new season

Amanda Stevens, left, is the fairy godmother and Gabriela Tatone plays Ruby in Olympia Family Theater’s “The Delicious Revenge of Princess Rubyslippers.”
Amanda Stevens, left, is the fairy godmother and Gabriela Tatone plays Ruby in Olympia Family Theater’s “The Delicious Revenge of Princess Rubyslippers.” Courtesy of Olympia Family Theater

Olympia Family Theater launches its 2019-2020 season with a trip to the world of fairy tales in “The Delicious Revenge of Princess Rubyslippers,” opening Friday.

Five-year-old Ruby (Gabriela Tatone) escapes boredom — and the healthful food her mother prefers — through sheer imagination in the comedy by British playwright Brendan Murray.

“It’s delightful,” director Pug Bujeaud told The Olympian. “It’s all about imagination and play and a little girl who’s bossy and sassy.”

“What I love about this show is that it captures youthful imagination,” said Amanda Stevens, who plays Mum as well as a wolf and other familiar fairy tale folks. “At the first read-through, I was having flashbacks of when I made up stories and played with my friends.

“My hope is that not only will kids watching it want to run home and make up stories themselves, but that parents will be reminded of a more innocent, playful time,” she told The Olympian. “We can all use some lightheartedness these days.”

Stevens — whose performance as Helen, the mom in South Puget Sound Community College’s production of “Fun Home” got lots of attention from theatergoers and South Sound theater critic Alec Clayton — is having a good time playing a range of roles.

“I get to play six different characters — the most I’ve ever done in one show,” she said. “Even though they are ones we are all familiar with, it has been a good challenge to give each of them their own personality.”

“Princess Rubyslippers” — like many of Olympia Family Theater’s offerings — is likely to appeal to adults as well as kids.

“We’re having a lot of laughs,” Bujeaud said of rehearsals with the cast, which also includes Skylar Bastedo as Ruby’s big brother, Jake, and Emily Bittrick as Jake’s friend Tom.

Murray, the artistic director of Oxfordshire Touring Theatre Company, wrote it with families (rather than just kids) in mind. It has “something for everyone from children to grandparents,” he wrote on his website.

Grandparents might want to beware, though. The wolf and Grandma have the interaction you might expect — though Grandma, in this case, seems to deserve it.

‘The Delicious Revenge of Princess Rubyslippers’

  • What: In this British comedy, bored young Ruby imagines her way into a funny fairytale.
  • When: 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 20
  • Where: Olympia Family Theater, 612 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia
  • Tickets: $20; $16 for seniors, students and military; $13 for youth (12 and younger); available at olyft.org or the box office. For the Oct. 3 performance, pay what you can; tickets for that performance are available only at the box office beginning at noon that day.
  • Season tickets: $80; $64 for students, seniors and military; and $60 for youths. Three-show subscriptions are available, too.
  • More information: 360-570-1638, olyft.org

The rest of the season

  • “The Wind in the Willows” (Nov. 29-Dec. 22), a musical by Andrew Gordon of Olympia, is based on Kenneth Grahame’s beloved book about Ratty, Mole and Toad of Toad Hall. It features music by Bruce Whitney, former music director at Harlequin Productions, and lyrics by Gordon, Whitney and Daven Tillinghast of Olympia.
  • “Number the Stars” (Jan. 31-Feb. 16), based on Lois Lowry’s Newbery Award winner, recounts the adventures of best friends living in Nazi-occupied Denmark during the 1940s.
  • “Suzette Who Set to Sea” (March 20-April 5) tells the fanciful tale of a young girl who seizes the chance to build a boat and take to the water, defying the social norms of her mythical village.
  • “The Alphabet Caper” (May 15-June 7), a world-premiere musical by Ted Ryle of Olympia with music and lyrics by Ryle and Miriam Sterlin, is about a third-grader and her imaginary friends, the letters of the alphabet.
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