The Tail of Peter Rabbit was a charming adaptation of the Beatrix Potter classic, written by the clever Rob Roznowski, and directed by Deric McNish. Ryan Duda as Peter turned in an olympic level of hopping, jumping, tail shaking, and general garden-robbing mayhem. The talented Jacqueline Wheeler aced the role of benevolent rule-making Mother rabbit, with delightful turns as sparrows and mouse. Lee Cleaveland was gruffly subtle as the not-all-bad Mr. MacGregor, trying to protect his business interests from the rebellious, revengeful young rabbit. Katie Noyes was fantastic in the wonderfully imaginative role of Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. Flopsy and Mopsy were large hand puppets, haughtily chastising their brother, with Katie’s real, rabbit-eared head voicing the nuanced commentary of the incongruously reasonable Cottontail.The addition of music and lyrics by music director Chelle Peterson added another level of fun. As with last year’s “The Summer Circle” script by Roznowski, this is thoroughly enjoyable for parents and kids alike’ our 6, 7 and 9 year olds gave it a thumbs up. The hour-long Peter Rabbit performs Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 pm through June 27.
Parents redeemed our grandkids, so we could stay for The Book of Liz which turned out to be our favorite summer show so far with script by talented comic siblings David and Amy Sedaris. (This is appropriate for age 8 and older.) It had the wacky silliness and energy of the Musketeers and Mr. Burns… but also had a real, follow-able (if bizarre) plot line and characters we could keep straight, and, in the case of Liz, care about. Anne Folino White directed her exceptional cast of — what?! only four? — in a wild romp originating in an Amish-like (Squeamish) community — and following our inspiring heroine Liz (Carolyn Conover) through a series of plot twists involving Mr. Peanut, profuse sweating, and cheese balls. Carolyn doubled as the decrepit Brother Hesikiah, and the other three cast members played 13 other distinct and hilarious characters with very entertaining set and costume changes. Only ONE hilarious show left - 8pm Saturday the 20th at 8 pm.
An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein follows about 20 minutes after Liz, probably closer to 9:30 than 10 (since both Liz and Silverstein are only about an hour and 15 minutes each) It is a series of diverse and imaginative cartoonish sketches, definitely meant for adults… probably PG 13? A Silverstein-drawing-inspired set of handy, fold-out, line-drawing backdrops (Chris Stowell) worked well. Again, four energetic, and talented actors bounced themselves among 25 characters: Imani Bonner, Joshua Gronlund, Kirill Sheynerman and Grace Hinkley. I was particularly impressed with the wide range of characters portrayed by Grace. It was hard to believe her disappointed child and her tough-as-nails interrogator were the same person. This is a fun variety-pack assortment, with an adult version of the quirky wit you may know from Silverstein’s whimsical poems for children — but don’t bring the children! This show repeats Saturday the 20th, and also after the upcoming “The American Plan” which shows at 8pm June 24-27 with Silverstein following on Friday and Saturday only. (Bring a jacket/blanket; it gets chilly when the sun goes down.)