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West Potomac Sideways Stories from Wayside School

By • Nov 24th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

Some elementary school students bring apples to give to their teacher. But on the 30th floor of Wayside School, the teacher brings students that she has transformed into apples. Sideways Stories from Wayside School is the story of a class of unconventional young kids at a wacky school. Louis Sachar’s popular children’s series was adapted for the stage by John Olive and performed by the West Potomac Theatre Department.

The play takes place on the 30th story of a school that was intended to include one story of thirty classrooms. Instead, the architect made 30 stories with one classroom each. The students have all sorts of adventures and learn that they can work around their difficulties – whether it be learning to read the blackboard, counting, or saving themselves from being cooked into pies by their evil teacher.

The students, played by Ryan Walker, Emily Woods, Nell McKeown, Maggie Solo, and Toby Mananzan, worked wonderfully together and had fantastic energy throughout the show. Walker, as Myron, had great comedic timing and mastered the mannerisms of an elementary schooler superbly. Woods and McKeown, as Bebe and Leslie, had fabulous facial expressions and were constantly engaging, even when they did not have lines. As Mrs. Jewls, Callan Memmo provided a great contrast to the wild eccentricities of the rest of the show with her portrayal of the more normal, sweet teacher. Christian Huley marvelously handled the challenging task of playing two completely different characters, Mrs. Gorf and her son Mr. Gorf. In the role of Mr. Gorf, he was spectacularly evil, seeking revenge on the class that turned his mother into an apple and ate her. In the scene where Mr. Gorf acts a puppeteer to force the class to do what he directs them to, he had impeccable synchronization with the cast member who was the “puppet.”

The many sound effects were always exactly on cue and made the show quite enjoyable and engaging. The scene changes were a little long, but the set and costumes were well made, full of bright color that captured the feel of elementary school. The costumes were jazzed up to exaggerate certain characters’ personalities and complement the wacky nature of the play.

It’s always nice to see a full audience and a variety of people at high school theater. West Potomac had a packed house that ranged from preschool age kids to high-schoolers to adults. Everyone was kept laughing at a show that really was fun for all ages.

by Abby Marcus of TC Williams High School

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