March 8, 2008
Marple Newtown Players presents Enchanted Sleeping Beauty
Theater: Marple Newtown Players
Show Title: Enchanted Sleeping Beauty
Opened: March 7, 2008
Seen: March 7, 2008
Reviewer: Ryan Bunch
Submitted: March 8, 2008
I’ve just been to see Enchanted Sleeping Beauty by Marple Newtown Players and guess what—it’s enchanting!
You know the story, of course. King Rudolph and Queen Eleanor are the proud parents of baby Princess Briar Rose. They hold a celebration, but because of a shortage of golden plates, they decide not to invite Evilina the Witch. This is a silly mistake, for of course the contrary Evilina shows up anyway and, feeling insulted, puts a curse on Briar Rose. The Princess will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday and die. The three good witches are able only to partly undo the spell—instead of dying she will fall into a deep sleep to be awakened only by true love’s kiss. Luckily, she has already been betrothed to Prince Alexander, so at least they have something to work with! The rest goes pretty much according to happily-ever-after.
The group of young actors in the show, who are mostly from the fourteen-and-under set, are to be commended for some fine performances, among them Chris Doody and Kerrie Jochum as the proper King and Queen, Danielle Agan as the overworked royal Chef, Samantha Miller as the energetic Quill, Abby Cocco as the spunky Seamstress, Julia Cecco as Princess Briar Rose and Jason Armstrong as Prince Alexander. Shannon Long steals the show playing Evilina as a diva of a villainess, accompanied by her sidekicks April Lillard (the Spider) and Cassie Henry (the Black Cat). Added to these are the talents of Vanessa Ruffo as the Baroness, Tom Macagnone as the Prime Minister, Kristen Hushen as the Nurse, and Amanda Neal as Queen Samantha. Christine Wingood, Sarah McCall and Anjelica Finore are the tall and benevolent Blue, Pink and Green Witches who bring gifts to the young princess in sweet song. Rounding out the cast are the Village Dancers—Kelly Downs, Hannah Jones, Kaitlyn Slinkard, Kelly Lyons, Lisa Dina and Gianna Priolo.
The enchantment of the show is highlighted by the beautiful set and colorful costumes, which evoke an old fashioned fairy kingdom, and by the songs which have a gentle whiff of antiquity about them. The main exception to this happens to be the best song in the show “The Death of the Party,” sung with gusto by Evilina backed up by Spider and Cat, who all turn out to be fine singers. Have you ever seen a spider Charleston? You will—and with all eight legs!
So get ready to be whisked away to the world of fairy tale. No need to bring your own broomstick, either. You can buy your magic wand right inside the theater.
Enchanted Sleeping Beauty runs through March 16 at the Gauntlett Community Center in Newtown Square. For information and tickets call 610-353-9181, email email@example.com, or visit www.playersstage.org.
Ryan Bunch is a vocal instructor, writer and composer specializing in musical theater and theater for young audiences. He has provided voice training, musical direction, songwriting, script development and educational services for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Mainstage Center for the Arts, Center Stage Productions, Chichester School District, West Chester Summer Stage, Renaissance Artist Puppet Company, and the Players Board of Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School. For additional information visit www.ryanbunch.com.