BWW Reviews: TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING at Main St. Theatre is Super Fudgy Awesomeness

BWW Reviews: TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING at Main St. Theatre is Super Fudgy Awesomeness
Trevor Grace & Danny Dyer in TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING

What do you get when you have a cerebral 4th grader, spoiled little brother and a turtle named Dribble? It's the popular Judy Blume book TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING on stage adapted by Bruce Mason. The Main St. Theatre's TYA performance introduced a room full of inquisitive kids and adults to the work of Judy Blume. This best-selling children's book has inspired and entertained readers for 43 years. Blume is the author of 21 children's books, 7 young adult novels, and 4 adult novels. Saying Blume is an experienced writer would be an understatement. Blume's unique voice and youthful writing style bring forth great stories that transcend time.

The story takes place circa 1982 and 9-year-old Peter Hatcher (Trevor Grace) is infuriated by the destructive behavior of his 2-year-old brother Fudge (Danny Dyer). Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher (Shane Manning and Sarah Myers) try everything they can do to calm Fudge. Fudge's temper tantrums have run rampant and Peter wants him to be punished. But to no avail, Fudge's tantrums and hunger strike go without punishment. Peter's new pet Dribble is the center of his joy and Fudge often disturbs Dribble. Fudge is just like any other terrible two-year-old. He gets into everything and looks up to everything his big brother does. Right down to the creative artwork on a poster presentation made by Peter and his classmates, Sheila Turban (Brittny Bush) and Jimmy Fargo (Roderick Randall). After Fudges playground accident and Dribble's disappearance, Peter becomes frustrated and feels that Fudge is the bane of his existence. Peter has a dream and by the end he feels he's nothing.

This production was by far the highlight of my weekend. Seeing a childhood classic such as TALES... come to life on the American stage was paramount. The set was designed by Claire A. Jones and worked perfectly with the space and the transitions from scene to scene. The asymmetrical shapes and home décor took me back to the 1980's design of Memphis/Milano. From the Ettore Sottsass inspired couch to the see through phone, every aspect of the design of this production was well thought out and executed with precision. Costume designer Macy Lyne did a great job by incorporating prints and vibrant colors to the 80's aesthetic. I loved the kids costumes right down to the ruffled socks and bibs. From the light design by Gregory Starbird to the playful sound design by Chris Bakos I was pleased with the attention to detail.

BWW Reviews: TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING at Main St. Theatre is Super Fudgy Awesomeness
Trevor Grace & Danny Dyer in TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING

When you have a great story, and talented actors this equals theatre magic, but you must have a fearless leader to bring it all together. Troy Scheid directed this production with a keen sense of the story and a strong artistic vision. His vision was concise, smart and executed with ease. I loved how the actors played multiple parts. This can be entertaining or a complete disaster, and I was entertained. The quick costume changes were seamless, and the character variety had range and I couldn't wait to see what was next. Danny Dyer's energy and physical commitment to Fudge's character was spot on. All of the actors were believable on stage and Trevor Grace was cast perfectly. I loved his inward angst. He didn't try to be a kid; he completely embodied this character from hair follicle to toenail. As the show progressed the final scene began to drag. The first act of many shows drag due to the extensive narrative that has to be set-up, but this was a minor bump in the road with this production.

From the concession stand to the stage, the story was told. Turtle shaped cookies were available for purchase and also Blume's book. This show was solid from start to finish and of course anytime there's a puppy on the stage there's bound to be melted hearts, and I am happy that I had the chance to share this experience with my god daughter Kaitlyn.

Passing on a literary legacy such as Blume's has been a continued family tradition for years. With over 80 million books sold, the popularity and poignant stories delivered by Blume stand the test of time and Main St. Theatre's production of TALES... was proof positive that story, talent, and vision equates to theatrical excellence. There's nothing more than my love for the theatre and the written word when these worlds collide I am hippopotamus happy. This production runs until May 17th at Talento Bilingüe de Houston. For more information please visit:www.mainstreettheater.com



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From This Author Bryan-Keyth Wilson

Dubbed the Literary Prince, Bryan-Keyth Wilson is a noted playwright, screenwriter, director, teaching artist and choreographer. He is a published author of two books and (read more...)

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