BWW Review: GET's TUCK EVERLASTING is Nothing Short of Delightful
The Theatre for Young Audiences crew over at Georgia Ensemble Theatre are truly doing the Lord's work. After building a series of touching, short plays for a young audience and adaptable for any stage with a group of some very talented actors, they pack it all up in a van and cart it all over the state to perform in front of students everywhere.
I had the absolute pleasure of seeing their production of TUCK EVERLASTING this past weekend. In all honesty, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. As someone who grew up obsessed with the 2002 film, TUCK has been a part of my life for quite a while. I was hesitant about the Broadway adaptation but ended up enjoying it. After I heard about GET's production, I knew I wanted to see it. I invited a friend who was obsessed with the musical, but she ended up (in true #theatrekid form) not being able to come due to rehearsals.
Thinking what I'd see was a version of the Broadway musical until the night before, I was slightly apprehensive about the show. I don't go to many TYA shows as I know I'm not the intended audience, but I'd committed so I couldn't back out. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement. In some ways, it was better than sitting in a local theater's take on the musical. Instead, it pulled me back to my childhood obsession - my first love of the book and movie. It was wonderful, in all senses of the word. I was charmed by the acting, the imagery, and the overall appeal. There's something so thrilling about a story about a group of people who somehow have the ability to live forever, but this adaptation brought out all of the bleak reality of their story without losing the magic.
The only word going through my mind as I watched the six actors convey the story easily and concisely was "enthralling." The actors who played multiple characters did it with skill and definition, while the actors who personified a single role fully encapsulated it. Notable are Ryan Duda as the serious Miles Tuck and hysterical Constable, Adam Hobbs as the fatherly Angus Tuck (the boat scene was one of my favorites), and, of course, Patricia de la Garza as Winnie Foster herself. (How adults can play children so well still blows my mind!) I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it, however. The children around me were completely taken in by the story, and, judging by the questions they asked of the cast afterwards, nothing went over their heads.
I'm so glad I stayed for the talkback with the cast after the show. (This is where I learned why the set wasn't as fully fleshed-out as most productions - because it all has to fit in the van that they drive to schools in the state.) Honestly, I've been staying at more talkbacks recently, instead of shying away from them. I thought they'd ruin the experience, but instead they enhance them ten times over. I highly recommend it, if you get the chance! I loved learning about the show and GET's TYA troupe, but especially about the cast members and their experiences at GET and the theatre world outside of the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.
This group is something special, and I've only seen one of their four productions. Definitely go see one of their shows if you get the chance - or, better yet, ask them to come to your school!