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Furry Tales: Fun and Quirky Story for Children

Furry Tales: A quirky tale of missing tails

Joel Doty’s Furry Tales is a story of two tales or rather: what happens to tails when tales go awry. The cute, quirky and fun play for children was recently presented by the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, under the direction of Pierre Lemaire and through The Children’s Theatre Workshop. 

Furry Tales take place in Furry land where the animals and fairytale creatures (at least those from traditional European fairytales) live side by side. However, the fairytale characters have begun to forget themselves, or rather their stories. As a result Little Miss Muffet sits on a bench is best friends with the spider and wants porridge instead of curds and whey. Jack and Rapunzel are hopelessly in love and Humpty-Dumpty wants to build a great mall. Other characters to make an appearance are Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, the wicked witch and the three bears. 

Sir Mouse, Squirrel and RaccoonUnfortunately, now that the tales are confused the animals begin to lose their tales. Three brave animals Sir Mouse (Andre Tucker), Squirrel (Raquel Hutchinson) and Racoon (Tiara-Kay Woodbine) must journey to the land of humans to find a child who knows the stories and can retell them. On their journey they discover Lila (Kaydian Ancel) who may be able to save their world.

Furry Tales is witty tongue-in-cheek fun, especially, as it highlights that the characters are really better off with their off-kilter stories than the original ones. The play is a well-orchestrated piece of children’s theatre with enough catchy music and physical drama to entertain the young ones. More importantly, it also contained much humour for the adults who carry them along. Indeed, there is a good chance that adults can enjoy the production more than the young ones as much of the humour is likely to fly over the little ones heads.Cinderella and Snow White have become more witch than fair princess

Furry tales is bouyed by the music under Cecile Strudwick-Green’s direction and benefits from a good musical score which significantly helps to underscore the comedic effects. Lighting design (Calvin Mitchell) and set (designed by Denise Forbes Erickson) were also good. However, the costuming, though reasonably well conceptualized, needed better execution and this lessened the impact of the characterization. For example, the Sir Mouse’s outfit was far too ill-fitting, robbing him of his attempt at being dashing. 

At its heart, Furry Tales is about encouraging children to read, and the production underscores this by having the protagonist visit the children’s section of the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library (more popularly known as the Tom Redcam Library). The footage, more than likely unintentionally, underscores that the library is in dire need of support. As Furry Tales happily declares, it is important that children read, but to make sure they do, we also need great, but we’ll settle for good, libraries.

Furry Tales was staged at the Dennis Scott Studio Theatre in Kingston, April 10 -12 and 17 -19, 2015.