BWW Reviews: Adventure Theatre's STUART LITTLE a Story About a Mouse, But Far from Cheesy

By: Sep. 22, 2014
Chris Dinolfo stars as Stuart Little. | Photo by Mike Horan

Adventure Theatre MTC is kicking off its 63rd season with a triumph.

Above all else, the company's production of STUART LITTLE-based on the celebrated book by E.B. White-accomplishes humor on several levels. There's, of course, hilarious physical comedy as cast members use props to illustrate Stuart's puny stature (in what other world can a normal, tiny key magically turn into a mammoth one?). Then, throughout the performance, there's an underlying snark and awareness of some of the show's more nonsensical aspects (really, how can these humans understand birds, cats and mice?).

But underscoring all this humor is a timeless and valuable story. Whether you know it from White's 1945 book or from the successful 1999 film adaptation (or even if this production serves as your introduction to the world of Stuart Little), the premise remains the same. Stuart, a thoughtful mouse (played by a charming and earnest Chris Dinolfo), is part of a human family in New York City. His dedication is put to the test as drama unfolds, featuring the melodramatic cat Snowball (played by a lively Philip Reid) and his beautiful bird best friend Margalo (played by the delightfully endearing and sweet Emily Zickler).

STUART LITTLE cast members (from left to right) Philip Reid, Andrew Ferlo, Tracey Farrar and Emily Zickler. | Photo by Mike Horan

The five-member cast (including the previously mentioned three, plus the talented Tracey Farrar and Andrew Ferlo), all show remarkable range and agility in changing roles-in fact, the production's staging is done so well that audience fails to notice costume changes happening in the background.

Each of the show's production elements serves a purpose. The inspired and cozy scenic design (by set designer Klyph Stanford) provides a lens into Stuart's comfy New York home, and easily transitions into other locations, such as the Central Park pond. The lighting (by lighting designer Jason Arnold) and background music (by sound designer Matt Otto) highlight drama. The choreography, albeit limited, lends way to a few utterly uproarious scenes. The show's prop work (spearheaded by props designer Dre Moore) deserves particular commendation, allowing for seamless transitions between the world of the human, and the world of the mouse.

The morals emphasized in the show are so well-embedded in this stage adaptation by Joseph Robinette that audiences never quite consciously realize that they're receiving an excellent lesson in courage, determination and resolve. Toward the end of the show, as Stuart works as a substitute teacher in an extremely well-staged scene, he professes to a group of children the value of being nice, as well as the greatness of ice cream and summertime. Indeed, "important" and "silly" are the two words I'd say most precisely describe STUART LITTLE-though children will be delighted to find that "silly" most often takes precedence.

Understudies include Danny Cackley, Ian Brown-Gorelle and Cathryn Benson. The show's production team consists of Colin Hovde (director), Elena Day (assistant director), Kendra Rai (costume designer), Donna Stout (stage manager), Karen Deans (scenic charge) and Lauren Evans (master electrician).

STUART LITTLE runs Tuesdays through Sundays through Oct. 26 at Adventure Theatre MTC, located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd. in Maryland's historic Glen Echo Park. Tickets are $19, with group and field trip rates available, and can be purchased through the box office by calling 301-634-2270, or online at Children under the age of one are admitted for free.

An American Sign Language performance will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4. A sensory/autism-friendly performance will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Running Time: Just over one hour, with no intermission.

2023 Regional Awards


Review: THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW at Imagination Stage Photo

Seeing the caterpillar made my son's jaw literally drop open! Now playing at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland, the ravenous insect is the headliner with opening acts of three other Eric Carle stories.

Review: THE CARETAKER at Edge Of The Universe Theater Photo
Review: THE CARETAKER at Edge Of The Universe Theater

The Writer’s Center is just the right place to stage a reverent version of one of Harold Pinter’s best known plays.

National Symphony Orchestra With Music Director Gianandrea Noseda To Release Beethoven Sym Photo
National Symphony Orchestra With Music Director Gianandrea Noseda To Release Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) and Music Director Gianandrea Noseda will release Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8 on October 20, 2023 and will be available for pre-order on October 6, the third installment of a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies on the National Symphony Orchestra label.  

Review: THE TELL-TALE HEART at Synetic Theater Photo
Review: THE TELL-TALE HEART at Synetic Theater

If you are looking for a spooky production to watch during the month of October, you don’t want to miss out on The Tell-Tale Heart, directed by Paata Tsikurishvili. 

From This Author - Benjamin Reiser


#repshow# in[i]# Scorched
ExPats Theatre (9/23-10/15)Tracker
#repshow# in[i]# Monstress
Flying V (10/19-10/28)
#repshow# in[i]# Trinity Irish Dance Company
Center for the Arts at George Mason University (3/24-3/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Swept Away
Arena Stage (11/25-12/30)
#repshow# in[i]# Magician David Corsaro
Capital Hilton (11/13-11/13)
#repshow# in[i]# MALEVO
Hylton Performing Arts Center (2/17-2/17)
#repshow# in[i]# Monarch: A Mexican American Musical
Creative Cauldron (10/05-10/29)
#repshow# in[i]# NSO: Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Mozart & Brahms
Concert Hall at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (11/16-11/18)
#repshow# in[i]# National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
Hylton Performing Arts Center (2/25-2/25)
#repshow# in[i]# Steep Canyon Rangers
Hylton Performing Arts Center (11/18-11/18)

Recommended For You