BWW Review: ELEPHANTS & PIGGIE'S “WE ARE IN A PLAY!” at Adventure Theatre
DC Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) visionary Michael J. Bobbitt left us to start a new artistic chapter in his life a few months ago. The season opener at Adventure Theatre shows that even though he isn't here physically his vision for the company will be felt all season. Bobbitt made his picks for the company's 19/20 season before his departure.
Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play" is one of those shows that has something for everyone. A first class cast, excellent production values, and great writing. I guess the latter shouldn't come as a surprise because Bookwriter/Lyricist Mo Willems based the show off of his very popular Elephant & Piggie book series.
Our two main characters are a hypochondriac of an elephant named Gerald (Derrick Truby) and a very spunky pig named Piggie (Karen Vincent). The two are best friends and share lots of adventures together, I say Gerald is a bit of a hypochondriac because worries about everything. This includes things like whether or not to share his ice cream cone with Piggie and thinking he's not able to cope while Piggie uses the bathroom. They are true friends to be sure.
Elephant and Piggie have three muses known as the Squirelles (Kelli Blackwell, Alex De Bard, and Da'von Moody. The trio plays various characters and provides advice to the pair throughout the show.
Sometimes the songs in a TYA show are cheesy and sub-par but you won't find one bad song in the bunch here. Willems and Composer Deborah Wicks La Puma have created a Broadway style score that is aided by some knockout choreography by Dane Figueroa Edidi.
A few of the standout vocal moments include Truby's "Ice Cream Hero". The ode he sings with Vincent called "Don't Go" is one of the better modern day friend songs I've heard.
The full company roars to full throttle in such numbers as "Elephant in the Room" and "We're in a Play!"
Director Care Gabriel has the show staged with lots of energy and zip. Hmmm....that sounds like a reference doesn't it.
Performance wise everyone is at the top of their game.
Karen Vincent as Piggie has all the spunk and go get em attitude anyone would want in a friend.
Derrick Truby portrayal of Gerald the elephant is heartwarming and just makes you want to say AWWWWW THAT'S ADORABLE!!
The Squirelles all impress but the stand out in the trio for me is Alex De Bard. With her infectious smile and an endless abundance of energy her ice cream vendor character almost steals the show. It's that good.
Andrew Cohen's backstage setting is perfectly designed complete with a marquee, fly ropes and more.
Lighting Designer Jason Arnold (assisted by Halley La Roe) provides lots of razzle dazzle and flash.
You must see how costume designer Jeanette Christensen turns Truby into an elephant.
Music Director Matthew Dohm has his cast sounding at their best throughout which in turn brings the Willems/La Puma score to its fullest sounding potential.
All in all Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play" is a real winner with something to satisfy every age.
Running Time: 55 minutes with no intermission.
Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play" runs through October 27, 2019 at Adventure Theatre which is located at 7300 Macarthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD.
For tickets, click here.