Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences Little WomenBy Jennifer Gusso • Dec 13th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences
Industrial Strength Theater, Herndon, VA
Through December 19th
1:40 with one intermission
$10/$7 Children 10/under
Reviewed December 10th, 2010
This adaptation of the classic novel tells just the beginning of the story, making it both the ideal length for young audiences and minimizing some of the more tragic elements of the novel. Like the book, we meet the four March sisters while their father is off to war and see them through until his return. Overall, the production was decent.
All of the performances were decent. They were a little artificial, came across more like caricatures than characters, and were a little big for the small space. Since this was across the board, it may well have been a directorial decision rather than one made universally by the actors. It worked ok for the audience of children, but it would have been a stronger and more emotionally gripping piece, while still engrossing young audiences, if the performances had been more realistic and nuanced. Still, they were good caricatures, and there were no weak links in the cast. The strongest performances and scene was the Christmas play. In this instance, the over-the-top acting was perfect. That, in combination with strong, comical staging, made for a perfect scene. Other than that, no one really stood out as being stronger or weaker than the rest of the cast.
The set was beautiful. Mike Smith did an excellent job of set dressing. Every little item was period, detailed, and in place with the décor. The room felt homey. It really made you feel like you had been invited into the March’s living room. The costume design by Judy Whelihan was equally excellent in representing the period, as well as the unique personalities of the different characters. The lighting and sound were decent; as in, they mostly went unnoticed. There was no specific moment in which either stood out as being exceptionally good or bad.
Basically, it was a very middle-of-the-road production. However, it is important to mention that the box office and ushers were extremely friendly; there were child-friendly refreshments; and the entire cast stayed on stage afterwards to sign programs and were wonderful in taking their time to interact with their young audience members and make them feel special. It was those above-and-beyond measures to make the experience child-centered that make this into a trip worth taking with school-aged children.
- Meg March: Susanna Todd
- Amy March: Caroline Peterson
- Beth March: Allie Backer
- Jo March: Bethany Goodell
- Marmee: Leslie Peterson
- Aunt March: Barbara D. Carpenter
- Hannah: Janet Devine Smith
- Laurie: Asher Miller
- Mr. March: Richard Durkin
- Sallie Gardner: Katie Rees
- Rose: Caitlyn Sullivan
- Annie Moffat: Annie Durkin
- Carolyn: Amanda Holsinger
- Emily Jane: Danielle Holsinger
- Executive Producer: Mary Ann Hall
- Producers: Theresa Bender & Mary Ann Hall
- Director: Kat Brais
- Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
- Assistant Stage Managers: Laura Baughman & Gina Gabay
- Lighting Design: Al Fetske
- Sound Design: Stan Harris
- Costume Design: Judy Whelihan
- Property Design: Lillian Colquitt
- Set Dressing: Mike Smith
- Set Construction: Marty Sullivan
- Master Electrician: Micheal J. O’Connor
- Set Painter: Sabrina Begley
- Assisted by: Cathy Rieder, Catherine Messerly
- Sound Board: Beth Atkins
- Light Board: Sallie Hall, Sue Klein
- Box Office: Sandy Sullivan
- House Management: Dave Sinclair
- Playbill: Ginger Kohles
- Graphic Design: Michael Sherman
- Photographer: Traci J. Brooks
Disclaimer: Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5988.
Jennifer Gusso has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musical for use in church.