A peachy tale

Xtreme Theatre brings the tale of James and the Giant Peach to the stage in Maple Ridge.

The fantastical tale about a boy who discovers a magical world inside a peach will be brought to life by Xtreme Theatre.

James and the Giant Peach, a children’s novel first published in 1961 by author Roald Dahl, is the story about a four-year-old boy who is forced to move in with two cruel aunts, Spiker and Sponge, following the deaths of his parents by a hungry rhino at the London Zoo.

James is treated poorly by the aunts, who make him work from morning until night.

When the aunts force him to chop down a peach tree in the front yard, James finds a book of magic potions.

He mixes a potion but accidently spills it by the tree which grows a humungous peach.

James soon discovers a door leading into the peach, where he meets a slew of human-sized characters, including a talking grasshoper, centipede, an earthworm, a spider and a ladybug ,and together they embark on an epic adventure when the peach falls off the tree and rolls into the ocean.

“It really is a story about acceptance and where you find love. James really finds a family in with these life-sized bugs, these life-sized creatures,” explained Wendy Holm, creator of Xtreme Theatre, a group for home-schooled children to put on musical theatre productions.

Holm has been a producer and coordinator of the group since it was created in 2000.

“It is really a story about belonging and family and seeing out of yourself, I think, and seeing the good in people. Just how people rally together to save James from these aunts,” continued Holm.

One of the challenges the group faces when picking a production each year is finding a show with a big cast.

There are two casts for this show with 30 actors in each cast.

“We just thought that this would be a fun one to bring to the schools especially if they are studying it at the same time,” said Holm, explaining that Dahl is viewd as one of the classic children’s authors.

Xtreme Theatre is known for its attention to detail when it comes to costumes, props and sets.

This production is also going to feature image projection.

“It just brings in an added element to grab the audience’s attention. How are you going to show a giant peach rolling across the stage,” asked Holm.

“We have some very technical parents. One of our dads, that’s what he would do is work the whole technical side. And so then we would have a team together to work on the technical,” she continued.

Another parent volunteer has created puppets for the production that will grow into life-sized people.

And another has created a contraption using a wheelchair to make it look like a giant peach pitt is rolling across the stage.

“So as the wheelchair is going across the stage you see the peach pitt rolling but you don’t see the wheelchair behind it,” explained Holm, praising the parent volunteers who really get involved to “make the magic happen”.

“We are adding more technical elements to make the story come alive.