Review: ‘Jumanji’ at Adventure Theatre MTC

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Adventure Theatre MTC (ATMTC) finishes out its 2015-2016 Season with their fourth world premiere production, Jumanji. The adaptation was co-written by Sandra Eskin and ATMTC’s Artistic Director, Michael J. Bobbitt, and was based on Chris Van Allsburg’s book of the same name, which won the Caldecott Medal-a prize that goes to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Billie Krishawn (Judy), Ryan Carlo (Peter), and Elan Zafir (The Guide). Photo by Michael Horan.

Billie Krishawn (Judy), Ryan Carlo (Peter), and Elan Zafir (The Guide). Photo by Michael Horan.

ATMTC has proven time and time again to be one of the top sources of Theatre for Young Audiences in the Maryland and DC area, and Jumanji is no exception. Serge Seiden, directs this beautiful production the theatre is calling a “4-D jungle experience,” which includes incredible puppets and effects that allow the audience to truly feel they are immersed in the story.

The design team (Costume Designer Roberto Croghan, Set Designer Luciana Stecconi, Projections Designer Patrick Lord, Lighting Designer Andrew Griffin, Sound Designer Kenny Neal, and Props Designer Andrea “Dre” Moore) outdoes themselves with this show, creating the illusions of a stampede, a monsoon, an erupting volcano, and jungle animals on the loose, including a massive lion and meddlesome monkeys.

The story starts with two siblings, Judy (Billie Krishawn) and Peter (Ryan Dalusung), who attempt to cure their boredom by playing an old, unfamiliar board game they have found. The two quickly discover that the game is all too real, when every roll of the dice brings another live-action encounter with wild animals and natural disasters taking over their home.

Jacob Yeh, Elan Zafir, and Julie Klavans. Photo by Michael Horan.

Jacob Yeh, Elan Zafir, and Julia Klavans. Photo by Michael Horan.

The game soon turns up a jungle guide, played by the wildly energetic and hysterical Elan Zafir, and the kids realize that the only way to get through their adventure is to play the game to the very end.

Zafir is also one of the puppeteers, along with Julia Klavans, and Jacob Yeh, who double as the Mom and Dad respectively.

Billie Krishawn (Judy).(Photo by Michael Horan.

Billie Krishawn (Judy). Photo by Michael Horan.

The cast does a fantastic job creating and maintaining the level of intensity required for this show to work. With the tremendous amount of effects, imagination and commitment are needed from the audience in order to make the show believable, and the entire cast and crew draws the audience in flawlessly and never loses their focus.

ATMTC is marketing Jumanji as appropriate for ages 4 and up, due to some of the more suspenseful moments.

Jumanji is action-packed and is a heart-pumping, visually-stimulating treat for the whole family! Do not miss out on the epic journey.

Running Time: 45 minutes, with no intermission.

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Jumanji plays through August 28, 2016 at Adventure Theatre MTC- 7300 MacArthur Bouevard, in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 634-2270, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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