‘Medieval Storyland’ at Red Knight Productions at The Arts Barn by Mike Spain


Journey back in time at the Arts Barn with Red Knight Productions Medieval Storyland as they take you to a fantasy world filled with elves, dwarfs, wizards, knights, dragons, and most importantly a quest. This production offers something for audiences of all ages. There are plenty of laughs in this comedy but in the end there is a serious message. I enjoyed the live music before the show and the added percussion parts during the show.. The music was just a percussionist and a ukulele player but they made a huge difference in the production. The costumes were incredible. The cast delivered strong performances.

 Gil (Brendan Kennedy left) and Todd (Teddy Nagel right) compare notes about the evil forces threatening 'Medieval Story Land'. Photo by Chelsie Lloyd.
Gil (Brendan Kennedy left) and Todd (Teddy Nagel right) compare notes about the evil forces threatening ‘Medieval Story Land’. Photo by Chelsie Lloyd.

Leaving the set sparse left plenty of room for the eleven member cast, who played over 19 characters, plenty of room to perform. The use of simple props helped tell the story. Combining the ensemble with boxes to stand on to make human trees gave the cast added stage time and provided the audience with a few more laughs. I thought it was funny when one of the trees grabbed a sword. The sparseness put the attention on the story and the spotlight on the characters to tell the tale. It also encouraged the audience to use their imagination. (Unfortunately there was mention of who created the set for the show). What I liked the best weres the costumes! Louis Dunlop’s original costumes are wowing. Kudos to Mary Wakefield and Brittany Graham for putting these outstanding costumes together.

As I entered the theatre I immediately noticed the talented Vaughn Irving on drums, Ariel Shine, and the ukulele player in their colorful costumes and I was immediately wowed! costume you enter. Shine is an excellent narrator and her performance sets up the story wonderfully. The dragon was also a highlight, and I loved the costume for the Ocelopatrops, which looked like a monster. Not adding a mask was smart because it avoided being too scary for the younger audience members.

Edward “Teddy” C. Nagel is a great fit for the main character Todd, who is joined by some entertaining characters along the way. Our hero Todd is super-strong but not very smart, and this enabled the character to be thrown into some very funny situations which Nagel capitalized on and drew many well-earned laughs. The Millennium Wizard, played by John Stange, starts the quest by presenting Todd with a special sword. The interplay between the Wizard and Todd really kickstarts the laughs as the Wizard tries to make sure Todd is the ‘right Todd’ for the sword.

After defeating the Ocelopatrops (David Pratt) Todd meets up with The Red Knight (Nick Hagy). Todd looks up to the Red Knight but it turns out the knight isn’t that much of a hero. They team up with a dwarf named Whisker-toe (Britt Duff). Duff brings a lot of energy to his performance and with it a bucketful of laughs. She doesn’t like wizards and her first encounter with The Millennium Wizard (Stange) is hilarious. The final member to join the foursome on the quest is the troll Graglore (Seth Roswenke). There is a hysterical ‘battle of the wits’ scene with Graglore and Todd.

On their quest the foursome runs across and plays numerous characters. Brendan Edward Kennedy plays Todd’s Father, Green Todd, and Gil. The sword dual between Green Todd and Todd is fun and Megan Behm directs a great fight, and Kennedy delivers some of the funniest lines in the show as Todd’s Father. David Pratt also plays The Blue Knight and Sir Swordsly. Jordan Slattery plays the girl Todd has a crush on named Minda and the charming Moonstar. Katie Zitz plays a charming Sparkle-Twinkle, takes her place on the Royal Guard, and puts on a beard for Beardle as she portrays three characters in the play. Kyle McGruther plays a solid villain as The Opaque Priest. He also plays King Richard – who makes some bad decisions and learns a few things.

The Red Knight (Nick Hagy center) finds himself in a strongly disadvantaged situation at the end of the sword of King Richard (Kyle McGruther). The king's ward, Minda (Jordan Slattery) looks on in 'Medieval Story Land.' Photo by Chelsie Lloyd.
The Red Knight (Nick Hagy center) finds himself in a strongly disadvantaged situation at the end of the sword of King Richard (Kyle McGruther). The king’s ward, Minda (Jordan Slattery) looks on in ‘Medieval Story Land.’ Photo by Chelsie Lloyd.

Take the journey and go see Medieval Storyl and to see if Todd saves the mythical land from the great darkness. It has something for everyone to enjoy, and its talented cast delivers a funny, action packed tale that will entertain the whole family!

Running time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.

Medieval Storyland plays through August 25, 2013 at The Gaithersburg Arts Barn – 311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. Purchase tickets by calling (301) 258-6394.