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Riddle Fence Art Fair – review

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As freezing rain pelted St. John’s this Saturday, The Riddle Fence Art Fair opened its doors for the first day of the two day event. The cozy space at 166 Water Street showcased the books and wares of local writers and artists — all for sale and all for under $50.00. Appearances were made by local performers, including Andy Jones and his puppet-performance of Queen’s Paradise Garden.



In Jones’ adaptation of the Newfoundland tale, a young man named Jack sets out on a journey to the Queen’s garden in search of a magic fruit that will make his aged parents youthful again. Jones was engaging and his storytelling warm on the cold January day. As well as narrating, he took on the roles of some the story’s characters with a wealth of voices and a clever sense of humour.

The music and sound effects were enchanting when paired with the story, and were provided by Monique Tobin. The audience enthusiastically obeyed as Tobin asked for help in creating the sounds of wind, rain and thunder throughout the show. Children, eyes and smiles wide, sat captivated for the entire 35 minutes, and from the babies staring silently, to the delighted faces of the adults in the back rows, it truly was enjoyable for all ages, shattering the common perception of “puppet show.”

Darka Erdelji designed the set and puppets. An aesthetic masterpiece, the set was made up of hand painted blocks with moving parts, hatches and surprises. The puppets were brought to life by Mary-Lynn Bernard and were unique, folk-art creations, so endearing that many of the audience members remained after the show to get a closer look.

Queen’s Paradise Garden was the perfect compliment to the Riddle Fence Art Fair. A medley of  performance, art and Newfoundland folklore, it was a production “for everyone” that won’t soon be forgotten.

By: Britt Espe

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the poor weather in St. John’s this weekend, the Art Fair will be returning again next weekend, Feb. 4 & 5, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.]


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