Magical enchantment awaits you at Pumpkin Theatre this holiday season as they bring to their new home’s main stage: The Princess and The Pea – a classic fairytale of a wandering princess who must prove to a neighboring kingdom that she is in fact a real princess. Directed by B Thomas Rinaldi, there are new friendships to be had in this recreation of a classic, including a toe-munching troll who really is a good soul deep down, and a book-reading prince who has traveled the world looking for a princess that suits him. Perfect for young audiences everywhere!There is a lot of magic to behold upon this stage.
Set Designer Ryan Michael Haase puts a touch of majestic regality into his work to display a castle rich in royalty. Haase’s mattress creation is particularly impressive, creating the illusion that it might truly stack very high for the princess. His use of stone pattern on the floor and walls helps craft the illusion of a castle from long ago in a far away land, and the furnishings in general are well suited for a king and queen.
Costume Designer Wil E. Crowther continues on the regal theme in his creations making sure there are rich purples and greens and plenty of gold for the royal family. Even the menacing and scandalous Orsic gets to have a fancy flowing cape to make him suited for castle life. Crowther’s most amazing costume is that saved for the Troll, Gustaf. In earthy shades of moss and swamp Crowther adds browns and crazy shaggy texture to the costume to give it a truly fantastical look, making this troll creature look both wild and enchanted at the same time.
Director B Thomas Rinaldi makes the show fun for children of all ages. Ensuring that the actors (while not specifically interacting with the audience in this production) are still completely engaged in sharing their story with the young eyes and ears of those in the audience. Big gestures, lots of movement, and clear articulate speaking come across fluently in all the characters so that everyone can enjoy the tale.
Orsic (Ed Higgins) is a nasty-wasty skunk as the case were! He’s mean, and odious and full of trickery; ready to blast poor Princess Astrid right out of the water. Higgins plays the “villainous” character gently, however, not in the least bit scary but with enough of the edge that the audience knows it is important to dislike him. His over-the-top responses (especially when he grows afraid of Gustaf the Troll) are perfect for adding laughter to the show.
King Olaf (Larry Levinson) and Queen Ulrika (Kay-Meghan Washington) are gentle and kind in the story, and it’s Levinson’s approach to his mild-mannered throne that makes him quite humorous. Washington, as the rhyming queen, is wise and calm as well; displaying that royalty can be kind and well worth trusting.
Then there is Prince Eric (Derek Cooper) and Princess Astrid (Vanessa Kinzey). Our story begins with Cooper’s character seeking out a princess. He’s moody and exaggerates his attitude with a wonderful display of sharp emotions so that the younger audiences can tell when he is frustrated, excited, or nervous. Kinzey as the sweet and loveable Astrid brings a cute flippant humor to the table that really is appropriate for a modern princess, especially when she explains how much she loves reading (a quality value for children of all ages to learn.) The pair make the story exciting once Cooper’s character realizes he might actually like Princess Astrid.
But the scene stealer of the show is Gustaf the Troll (Holly Gibbs). A remarkable performer with a lot of spastic energy to let loose upon the stage, Gibbs really digs her heels into the troll character making him hilarious without being scary. It’s her re-enactment of the various princesses that they encountered on Prince Eric’s journey that are truly comic gold. Between her zany gestures and crazy accents this is easily one of the most entertaining parts of the show. With her bright green skin (and a song about it later) Gibbs just steals everyone’s attention and it’s a great bit of entertainment to go along with the story.
Children young and old will enjoy the tale, there’s even a spectacular magic trick at the beginning to watch so be sure to get there on time!
Running Time: Approximately one hour with no intermission.
The Princess and The Pea plays through December 22, 2013 at Pumpkin Theatre performing at Har Sinai Congregation—2905 Walnut Avenue in Owings Mills, Maryland. For tickets call the box office at (410) 902-1814, or purchase them online.