BWW Review: JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH Goes On an Adventure at Adventure Theatre MTC
One of the many things that Adventure Theatre MTC does right its new gorgeous production of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach is to bring back director Michael Baron to the area. Since Mr. Baron left us a few years ago to take over as Artistic Director at the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, his exit has a left a hole in the DC Theatre community, as a director who has consistently done great work. I should also point out that this production is being presented as a "Co-Production with the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma."
The Washington DC Area tends to belittle Theatre for Young Audiences, particularly in their lack of coverage in national papers in the area, but this is truly a shame. Adventure Theatre MTC is doing high quality work with high quality directors, the only catch being their demographics are not the ones who regularly read the Post or the Times. But that shouldn't matter in theater. Quality work is quality work whether its audience is the joyful children sitting around me or the matinee audience of ladies who lunch.
Of course this production would be nothing without the amazing cast. While every cast member stands out in the production, the two stand outs among the expert ensemble are the sisters played by Karen Vincent and Awa Sal Secka. The two play beautifully off of each other, the audience, and are able to play the villains with humor while not being too scary for the young ones to enjoy. The ensemble of "critters" form a great traveling companion for the young James (played at the performance I attended by Henry Niepoetter). Suzanne Lane, Jimmy Mavrikes, Joshua Simon, Emily Zickler, and Tobias Young are quite enjoyable in their cohesiveness as an ensemble, but each have great moments in other supporting roles.
Besides Mr. Baron's wonderful direction, he has some great support by the stellar design team. Andrea "Dre" Moore provides her usual high caliber level of props (and extremely creative puppets), and Jeffrey Meek, who is joining ATMTC from Mr. Baron's Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma provides some of the most creative costume and wig design that I have seen on stage. Particularly the standout wigs (and there are a lot of them) a big kudos to Mr. Meek's design but also to the uncredited team that built them.
Overall, ATMTC's production of James is a wonderful production that every young one (and young at heart) will enjoy.
James and the Giant Peach plays through April 5, 2016 at Adventure Theater MTC in Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo, MD 20812.
Box Office: (301) 634-2270 or online
Photo Credits: Bruce Douglas