Review Roundup: THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX at Berkeley Repertory Theatre - What Did the Critics Think?
Berkeley Repertory Theatre presents PigPen Theatre Co's The Tale of Despereaux: A New Musical. Coming off a successful run at The Old Globe in San Diego, where it had its world premiere, The Tale of Despereaux, with book, lyrics, and music by PigPen Theatre Co. and directed by Marc Bruni and PigPen Theatre Co., began previews at Berkeley Rep on Thursday, November 21, 2019 and will run through Sunday, January 5, 2020. Tickets are on sale now at www.berkeleyrep.org or 510 647-2949.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Steve Murray, BroadwayWorld: There's no better Holiday treat for adult and children than PigPen Theatre Co's astoundingly magical, eye-popping musical delight The Tale of Despereaux, a must-see inventive old-fashioned fairytale parable so very in tune with our current time. Old-fashioned in its themes of love, courage, bravery and redemption, the creative team from PigPen infuse the work with cerebral humorous dialogue and a Broadway score for the adults with stunning visuals, acrobatics and shadow puppetry that had the little girl seated behind me gasping in wonder.
Georgia Rowe, SF Examiner: It's all very fluid - and often quite funny - in the cast's well-tuned performances. Dorcas Leung is a peppy, endearing Despereaux, delivering the mouse's songs with ease and energy. Yasmeen Sulieman is an assertive Princess, and John Rapson makes a forceful Roscuro. Arya Shahi plays the King with a sorrowful edge. Betsy Morgan is expressive in the role of Miggery Sow, and Dan Weschler gets laughs as the Stained-Glass Knight. Alex Falberg, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen and Matt Nuernberger round out the ensemble. With its indelible characters and fairy-tale setting, "The Tale of Despereaux" is billed as a family-friendly show, and it's easy to see why kids might love it. But its themes of forgiveness and reconciliation speak to all ages.
Lily Janiak, Datebook: The cast is universally strong, all pluck and game and heart, never condescending to its story or its audience but living fully in whimsy. Among them, Sulieman stands out with a singing voice as delicate and ethereal as a teardrop suspended on an eyelash.
Sam Hurwitt, Mercury News: Dan Weschler practically steals the show as a character who's not in the book at all, the blithely confident Stained-Glass Knight who coaches the mouse on how to be a hero heedless of consequences. With music direction by Christopher Jahnke, the songs are wonderfully catchy, lovely and moving with devilishly clever lyrics. My 4-year-old was especially delighted by the Stained-Glass Knight's boisterous ditty "Hey, You Know Me," and so was I.