Some responses from the Critics
(abridged to avoid copyright violation)
Children's Musical a Modern Beauty:
Lambert-Maberly reigns supreme in tweaked Beauty tale
Jo Ledingham, the Vancouver Courier
If you're looking for a theatre experience to make you feel as warm and fuzzy as a handful of downy Easter chicks, check out Beyond the Meadow; it's a great musical for the young and young-at-heart.
The most compelling aspect of this show is creator Ashley Lambert-Maberly, whose involvement includes music, lyrics, libretto ... etc. ... and who is tremendously charismatic in the role of Carabosse. He puts an upbeat, contemporary spin on the fairytale, infusing the story with humour.
The cast of almost two dozen is as bright and infectiously enthusiastic as you'll find on any stage. Flashing big smiles, they throw themselves into the show. Fine individual performances enhance the chorus, and when the entire ensemble comes together it threatens to burst the small space.
Karén Kennedy brings a dignified regal quality to the role of the Queen; also strong and confident is John Amenta in the double roles of the King and Prince Robert. Gillian Hunter is the Princess, her voice pouring forth like a clear mountain stream.
The Princess is roused form her sleep because "It's Possible"--the clarion call to optimism and personal responsibility first sounded in Act 1. It's a message full of promise that's as welcome as the flowers that bloom in Spring.
'One-man' musical is an extravaganza with big dreams
Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun
Livent is looking for shows to fill seats at the Ford Centre. Ashley Lambert-Maberly could lend a hand by first filling the Ford's big stage. A glorious choral harmony booms forth from the 20 talented singers, sending shivers down the spine.
If I were a rich man, I'd finance the next stage of development so that local wunderkind Lambert-Maberly could steer this show toward the Broadway-style extravaganza he so clearly aspires to create. The composer himself plays Carabosse, big hair combed out in all directions, and he cannot be accused of holding anything back in his portrayal of Carabosse as a mean-spirited, insecure, and ultimately vindictive fairy.
Beyond the Meadow is the first work of musical theatre from Once Upon a Theatre Productions. Parents and children pleased by this commendable effort should watch for Lambert-Maberly's upcoming Christmas show, Rumpelstiltskin's Children.