‘Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse’ at Pumpkin Theatre by Amanda Gunther

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Are you ready for a really great adventure with Lilly, Queen of the World? Well, if so, grab your sunglasses and don’t forget your purse as you head out to Pumpkin Theatre to see Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Adapted from the book of the same name by Kevin Henkes and Directed by Stacey Needle, this fun loving exciting story helps children of all ages explore all the important topics of growing up. From best friends to bullies, to new baby brothers and school, this show has it all and is really entertaining for the children.

Chester (Derek Cooper) Lilly (Kelsey Painter), and Wilson (Bob Harris). Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.
Chester (Derek Cooper) Lilly (Kelsey Painter), and Wilson (Bob Harris). Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.

Set Designer Ryan Haase brings a fanciful whimsy to the stage with his bright purple floors covered in big yellow stars. The classroom setup and boutique shop where Lilly gets her purse are equally as fancy with big purses hanging suspended above the scene. Haase lets his inner child out to play with the color scheme and design accents for the classroom and the “light bulb lab,” inspiring creative minds young and old.

Costume Designer Wil E Crowther brings sprightly spunky colors into his work, especially for Lilly so that she is looks every bit as energetic as her character acts. Crowther does a splendid job of crafting the mice head pieces to transform these actors into the scuttling and scurrying critters from the book. And keep an eye on the fabulously bright shirt given to Mr. Slinger, it’s eye popping and dazzling!

The actors give a fantastically engaging performance that really keeps the children of the audience entertained. The energy of the performance, overall, is great for children; a quick pace without rushing through the important things. There is lots of dancing, and a lot of excitement about all the best and most important things — like peas in a pod!

Mr. Slinger (James Hunnicutt) may be everyone’s new favorite teacher because he really helps the children take a fond liking to school. With an upbeat attitude and a quirky fun way of running his classroom, Hunnicutt doubles up as the fabulous sales mouse and makes Lilly’s purse purchasing extravaganza extra special!

Father Mouse (Anthony Scimonelli) and Mother Mouse (Shelly Work) become great influences in Lilly’s life as the other adults featured in the story. They double up as ‘bully mice’ during a very intense scene that teaches children how very important it is to be strong individuals and that bullying is wrong.

There’s even a snooty little mouse named cousin Garland (Holly Gibbs) who reminds us that not everyone is nice all the time, but you should always be nice to them no matter what. Gibbs is dressed to the nines in her frilly lace and pink layer dress and has a little attitude that garners a bunch of laughs from the audience. When she doubles up as Granny mouse we get to see a much kinder side as she helps Lilly pick out an amazing purse.

The three amigos in this story help the audience to understand how important friendship really is. Chester (Derek Cooper) and Wilson (Bob Harris) start off as two peas in a pod, thick as thieves and totally excitable. They share everything together and have a vivacious quality to their bouncy energy.

Lilly (Kelsey Painter) is a bright bubbly ball of excitement who nuzzles her way into the peapod making it a three-pod of friends. Painter radiates joyful exuberance and is constantly in motion, be it running around or tumbling cartwheels. She gives the audience a helpful reminder that even nice people sometimes make bad decisions and that apologizing is the best thing you can do in difficult situations. Painter is a delight for the children to watch because she’s so wrapped up in the reality of her young character; really finding that jovial youthful nature and making it accessible to everyone watching.

The Cast of 'Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.' Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.
The Cast of ‘Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.’ Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Theatre.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse is great for all ages, and has a happy ending, and it’s a wonderful show for children of all ages. And don’t forget to stick around after the show and meet all the mice, especially Lilly!

Running Time: Approximately 55 minutes, with no intermission.

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Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse plays through May 19, 2013 at Pumpkin Theatre – 8400 Greenspring Avenue at St. Timothy’s School Campus, in Stevenson, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 828-1814, or purchase them