Henri Fabergé and his gang are at it again. They're preparing Crisis at St. Creskins, the second festive special to follow Henri's antics at Boyce Academy. Part play, part cabaret, often bawdy and never boring, the performance will be sure to kindle your holiday spirit this coming weekend. Toronto's historic Campbell House Museum has bravely agreed to host the cast of characters and during rehearsal I stopped by to see inside the elegant Georgian home incongruously situated at Queen and University.
Campbell House has been a museum since 1972 but was originally built in 1822 by Upper Canada's chief justice Sir William Campbell and his wife Hannah. It is the oldest house remaining from the Town of York and is a wonderful example of Palladian architecture. Passing from the Campbell family in 1844, the place remained a private residence until 1890. The building then became commercial office and factory space for companies selling horseshoe nail, elevators and finally Hallmark greeting cards. In 1972, with demolition looming to make way for Hallmark's parking lot, the building was offered to anyone who could move it. The Advocates Society took up the challenge and the building was moved 1.5 km from Adelaide street to its current home where the Queen Mother herself was on hand to cut the ribbon on Campbell House Museum.
The phrase "well appointed room" comes to mind while admiring the open spaces and dramatically low window casings of the house. There is no fussy Victoriana about but rather a special collection of early 19th century furniture and household articles. The portrait of Sir Campbell looked on sternly as the actors went about their antics, with wardrobe racks and coffee cups disrupting the calm repose of a by-gone era. To be sure, these old walls have never seen such sights as the weekend will bring.
Crisis at St Creskins runs December 13-15 with two shows per night at 7pm and 9:30 pm.Visit the Campbell House Museum website for ticket information.