BWW Reviews: Pumpkin Theatre's LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE Empowers Kids
"Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" currently playing at Pumpkin Theatre is a wonderful tale for kids young and old. Lilly, played by Kelsey Painter who captures the free styling energy of a first grader to perfection, is a young mouse who has a creative spirit and a quick mind. Her friends, Wilson, played wonderfully by Bob Harris, and Chester, played thoughtfully by Derek Cooper, keep her company and support her through life's challenges - like a new baby brother, making new friends, peer pressure, bullying and other things that adults forget that children experience every day. The play shows how Lilly navigates through her adventures and despite setbacks never loses her personal vision; she remains, "The queen of everything!"
Wilson, Chester and Lilly captivated the audience. There wasn't a peep through the show's performance although the average age of the audience was about six years old. Kudos to Wil E. Crowther, Costume Designer, who dressed the little rodents in bright, primary colors that glowed on stage. Kudos also goes to Ryan Michael Haase, Set Designer and Scenic Artist, for giving the actors a stage that was colorful and multi-purpose. All these elements kept the young audience engaged and engrossed.
Divulging now my age, there was something very "Punky Brewster"-ish about the production. Lilly is an empowered young woman with the strength of her convictions. Her behavior is sometimes inappropriate, like when she rails against the arrival of her new brother, Julius "He's a lump. He is the germ of the world. If he were a number, he would be 0. If he were a fruit, he'd be a raisin." Lilly's feelings are crystal clear! But she recognizes her errors in time and seeks forgiveness for her actions. When her cousin, Garland, performed by Holly Gibbs, voices her dislike of Julius, Lilly slips into the big sister role and hugs her little brother close. Through all her experiences, Lilly remains a strong character who bounces from challenge to challenge with her own personal style.
And speaking of style - WOW, the audience could put a red carpet to shame. As the mother of a boy, I was not prepared for the "bling" of little girls clothing, but as the audience filled, the sparkle from the dresses, the purses, the shoes, and the headbands was a story by itself. The audience seemed to reflect Lilly's own confidence and style.
"Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" runs through May 19 at the St. Timothy's location for Pumpkin Theatre. This is their last performance, however, at St. Timothy's. The fall season will open at Har Sinai in Owings Mills, MD. Pay attention to their web site, www.pumpkintheatre.com, for tours and children-friendly previews.