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BWW Review: WINNIE THE POOH at Adventure Theatre

BWW Review: WINNIE THE POOH at Adventure Theatre
Derrick Truby Jr. in Adventure Theatre's production of Winnie the Pooh. Photo by Michael Horan.

Oh bother! Adventure Theatre is currently presenting a hunny of a show with Le Clanché du Rand's delightful stage adaptation of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh. Under the fine direction of Shirley Serotsky, Milne's 100 Acre Wood and its inhabitants magically come to life with a story of lost tales, huffalumps, and much more.

There is always something going on in 100 Acre Wood - and it's not always a good thing. In this case Rabbit (Stephen Murray) has gotten wind that Kanga (Sally Horton) and mother of Roo (Billie Krishawn) is coming armed with something terrible. It's so bad Rabbit hatches a plan with Piglet (also Krishawn) to stop her. She is coming with a bathtub and soap and strengthening medicine. OMG!! The idea is for Piglet to be disguised as Roo and then there will be a signal between Rabbit and Piglet and Winnie the Pooh (Derrick Truby Jr.). Meanwhile Eeyore (also played by Horton) has lost his tail so Piglet and Pooh set off to find it. They find it at Owl's (also played by Krishawn) place where it was being used as a bell pull. Other plot lines include finding a proper birthday gift for Eeyore and a search for Huffalumps in the forest. Just a typical day in 100 Acre Wood for sure.

BWW Review: WINNIE THE POOH at Adventure Theatre
L-R Stephen Murray, Billie Krishawn, and Sally Horton in Adventure Theatre's production of Winnie the Pooh. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

As you have probably figured out by now, three of the four actors play multiple roles and do so with enormous amounts of talent.

Sally Horton, shows true versatility with her portrayals of the downer donkey Eeyore and the "scheming" Kanga - two totally different types of characters.

Billie Krishawn is a triple threat as Piglet/Roo and Owl. She ensures there is a very clear distinction between each of her characters and each performance is strong.

Stephen Murray, as Christopher Robin and Rabbit, demonstrates the distinction between the paranoiac Rabbit and the good-natured Christopher Robin with total ease.

Derrick Truby Jr. is as cute and innocent as all get out as our title character Winnie the Pooh.

Director Shirley Serotsky takes the material and makes it endearing for all ages. She does so without schticking it up with sight gags and cheesy production tricks. This is why Serotsky is one of the area's finest directors. When you can take a Theater for Young Audiences show and keep it interesting for people all of ages in your audience, you are doing something right as a director.

Music director Tiffany Holmes guides the cast through the few songs that were written by Allan J. Friedman (Music) and Kristin Sergel and A.A. Milne (Lyrics) with harmonic glory. Holmes also serves as the show's pianist. The song's arrangements are by William Yanesh.

Nephalie Andonyadis' set depicts Milne's 100 Acre Wood perfectly. There is Owl's treehouse, a swing, and a spot for actors to appear as if they are coming out of the ground.

Kenann Modjeska Quander's costumes have a homemade feel to them. Pooh and the other characters' costumes appear like the designer went rummaging around many places to get just the right looks for each actor. They do not resemble what you might be used to seeing in a cartoon made by the company with a mouse as its symbol. They are totally original takes on the characters and that's a good thing.

All in all, Adventure Theatre's Winnie the Pooh is the perfect way to launch into your spring theatre going. Grab the whole family and enjoy.

Running Time: 60 minutes with no intermission.

Winnie the Pooh runs through May 26, 2019 at Adventure Theatre, which is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd (Glen Echo Park) Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, click here.

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