Saying Goodbye to the Goodwing: Reviews from the 2007 Winnipeg Fringe Festival
Finally, a children’s story that’s as enchanting as it is enchanted.
Death and grieving are never easy subjects to broach with children, but in Saying Goodbye To The Goodwing, The Cats Pajamas handle them with loving care. The play begins when fairy sisters Rosiola and Pansietta suffer the loss of their family pet. Refusing to accept the finality of death, Rosiola takes off into the Deep Dark Wood to find a way to bring her goodwing back to life, with Pansietta trailing close behind.
It sounds sadder than it is: Goodwing is actually bright, funny, and awesomely life-affirming. Simply put, everything about this play glows. Actors in splendid costumes frolic around a big and whimsical set, embracing the startlingly fresh material wholeheartedly. Even the youngest tykes in this audience were continuously entranced by the bold, clear writing and frisky pacing. Grown-ups needn’t bring a newspaper: there’s plenty of laughs here for them, especially courtesy of the brilliant Carolyn Gray as the bookish rock troll.
This show is appropriate for audiences of all ages, and we mean that literally: even if you don’t have an outer child, your inner one will revel in this gem.
CBC Rating: Five Stars Reviewed by: Melissa Martin
Winnipeg Free Press Review:
Two field fairies and their mom are sad to say so long to their pet, Grogur the Goodwing, when he dies of old age. In short order, a disagreement leads to a runaway fairy and encounter with a mischievous Wood Nymph in the Dark Forest. As dramatic as that beginning may sound, Saying Goodbye to the Goodwing is actually quite a delightful and funny story for children, penned by ’Pegger Stefanie Wiens. She demonstrates a tender restraint in talking about the loss of the fairies’ pet while keeping her story buoyed up by the joyful resilience of her characters.
When the younger fairy, Rosiola (the utterly convincing Heidi Malazdrewich), meets up with Lisa Martin’s lazy Willow Slippery-Elm, she finds herself sent on a quest that she hopes will bring her beloved Goodwing back to life.
She has a few run-ins with other forest folk, flora, and fauna, including a bespectacled Rock Troll played with bookish abandon by Carolyn Gray.
This light-hearted 45-minute play features engaging performances by this four-member cast in an enchanted setting.
Jenny Revue Review:
I didn’t see Stefanie Wiens’ Harry Rintoul award-winning Max and Mirabelle last year, and now I’m doubly sorry I missed it. This great script made me sorry that I did not have any grandchildren with which I could share it.
The cast deserves special mention: Carolyn Gray, Elyse Hartman, Heidi Malazdrewich and Lisa Martin all avoided the temptation to play down to their younger audience. The set was wonderful, and I could easily see the play as a best-selling children’s book using production photos as illustrations. Kids theatre at its finest.
Your Reviews (audience reviews from the CBC website)
I’ve been to see two Kids’ Fringe plays this year with my three grandsons, ages 4, 6, and 7. Saying Goodbye to the Goodwing is a play about death, grief, and letting go. While the theme sounds morbid, it is one of the best children’s plays that I’ve seen in a long time.
The story is about a family of fairies whose pet, the Goodwing, has died. Pansietta can’t come to terms with her pet’s death and runs away to try to find him again. In the forest – a place she is not supposed to go – she comes across Willow Slippery-Elm who convinces Pansietta that if she does certain tasks for her, the Goodwing will come back. I think that this play is a wonderful tool to teach children, in a gentle and sometimes humourous way, about the finality of death and what happens when you disobey your parents and put yourself in danger. It combines a good storyline with characters that are engaging and believable. My three grandsons were enchanted throughout the entire show! A must-see for the whole family!
If you’ve got kids, make sure you schedule this one into your kids fringe experience. If you don’t have kids, but know people who do, borrow them and take them to the show. Saying goodbye to the goodwing is an imaginative, fun, and heart warming tale. The acting is fantastic (nothing but pros in this cast), the writing is clever and the sets and costumes are, for lack of better words, awesome.
I’m glad this show has received 5 stars. It deserves nothing less.
What a fun show! My 3 year old loved it, she’s been talking about it all week. Solid performances, beautiful set, and great writing. Take your kids to see this!
This play was magical, imaginative and enchanting. An awesome script combined with excellent actors, a must see for the child in everyone. (My mom is recomending it to all of her girlfriends!) It was definatley one of the best kids shows this fringe.I would give it 6 out of 5 its that good!!! TAKE YOUR KIDS!!!! They will love it I garantee you.
I thought it was good.
Posted by: max kowalchuk (age 9) | July 27, 2007 06:38 PM
Photo credits, clockwise from top right: Rosiola reaches the top of the Slerbgirdle’s tree; Rosiola (Heidi Malazdrewich) starts to climb the tree; The Princess Monster and Kind-But-Ugly Ogre; The Rock Troll (Carolyn Gray) loses patience; The Rock Troll (Carolyn Gray) listens. All Photos by Jock Martin.