BWW Reviews: The Pumpkin Theatre's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - This Beast is a Beauty
Anyone concerned that the digital age has extinguished imagination in the young will find it's alive and well at the Pumpkin Theatre. When the children are asked to participate in its production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, their delight is infectious.
The Pumpkin Theatre continues to enchant with its colorful sets, gorgeous costumes and energetic performances. Here, they set the fairytale within the framework of a Renaissance Acting Troup who encourage children sitting on The Edge of the stage to help them tell the story at certain points. This is fraught with some danger as there may be a tendency of the participants to get overexcited or, conversely, wander away. However, the Pumpkin Theatre has a knack for managing it's target audience's attention.
The actors seem to be having such a good time, the adults in the audience may wish they could participate as well. Beauty's Father, played with great affability by Thomas Sinn, gets lost in the woods (played by the children) and then gets into trouble for stealing a rose. The Beast, played wonderfully gruff and tortured by Eric Pogh, agrees to spare the Father's life if his daughter, who is lovely as the rose, will take his place. Against her father's wishes, Beauty, played sweetly by Sarah Wincell, goes to the magic castle to save him. In a particularly creative turn, all the aspects of the palace (walls, doors, invisible servants and candelabras) are played to great effect by Erin Confair and Jeff Reeser. Now, that's a good use of imagination and fancy costumes.
Kudos to the entire design team: Wil E. Crowther (costumes), Ryan Michael Haase (sets), Ally Cribbs (props), Heather Mork(lighting), B Thomas Rinaldi (director) and also Thomas DiVenti (musician) who turn this fairytale into sophisticated entertainment.
After 45 years, the Pumpkin Theatre continues its joyful celebration of theatre. This tale of what the eyes see and what the heart feels is a wonderful way to prove magic still exists as long as there are stories to tell.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST runs through December 16th at St. Timothy's School, 3400 Greenspring Ave. For tickets, call (410) 828-1814 or visit www.pumpkintheatre.com