Creative Cauldron has a reputation for their, well, creativity. And their most recent production of Madeline and the Gypsies shows yet again their ability to take a simple story and turn it into a visually stimulating journey.
Madeline with her classmates and friend, Pepito, visit a traveling carnival that is in town, but, while on top of the Ferris wheel, Madeline and Pepito become stuck and a sudden thunderstorm separates them from the rest of group. The two children are saved by a group of Gypsies working the Carnival, who take them in and sweep them away to join in their Gypsy life. Madeline and Pepito soon get caught up in the Gypsy ways and become an act in the show themselves.
Based on the original story by author/illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline and the Gypsies has been adapted for the stage by Barry Kornhauser and Michael Koerner wrote the musical score. Direction and choreography are by Matt Conner, and Warren Freeman was the Music Director. Scenic and Costume Designer Margie Jervis’ creations are fantastic. There are horses, a lion, and even an elephant that are exciting to watch and sure to captivate the audience with their brilliant and imaginative design.
Carli Smith plays Miss Clavel, the over-worked charge of the twelve little girls in the boarding school. The young girls are played by members of Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater Ensemble and are adorable and charming, with great energy and sweet voices as they sing “We Are Thankful” and “Dear Miss Clavel,” among other songs.
Smith does a lovely job with the kind Miss Clavel. Her voice is soft and perfect for the gentle nun who is desperate to find Madeline and Pepito and bring them home safe.
Piper Boatwright and Talia Cutler share the role of Madeline. The performance I saw was with the precocious Talia Cutler. Cutler did a lovely job illustrating Madeline’s innocent curiosity and tendency for unexpected adventures.
James Durham plays Madeline’s friend, Pepito, an amusing but spoiled neighbor to the boarding school. Durhman needs to project a little more but was otherwise a delight to watch. He is the mischievous child that you can’t help but always forgive.
Laura Connors Hull is Gypsy Mama and her command of her Gypsy family is unquestionable. The Gypsy songs are gorgeous with a touch of mystery and Hulls strong voice leads them all, whether with a lullaby or into a lively dance.
Joining Smith and Hull in the professional adult cast are, Scott Harrison (the Strongman), Melissa Berkowitz (Petronella), Bill Abel (Gypsy), Chris Riherd (a Gypsy), and Ethan Miller (The Clown and the Servant).
Creative Cauldron’s Madeline and the Gypsies is a wonderfully creative production that is sure to entertain children and adults alike. The impressive costumes and set pieces are worth the price of admission alone, and the cast is a pure delight. A wonderful family adventure is waiting to be had.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with one 10-minute intermission.
Madeline and the Gypsies plays through December 27th, 2015 at Creative Cauldron at Art Space Falls Church – 410 South Maple Avenue, Suite 116, in Falls Church, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 436-9948, or purchase them online.