Adventure Theatre Charlotte’s WebBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jun 27th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD
Through August 28th
Reviewed June 25th, 2011
Charlotte’s Web, the timeless children’s book by E.B. White is the story of a barnyard of talking animals (what! your geese don’t say hi?). One day a litter of pigs is born and the farmer goes to kill the “runt.” The farmer’s daughter Fern convinces her father to let her raise the pig and the farmer agrees, for a while. Fern names the pig Wilbur and the two become best friends. When it becomes clear that Wilbur’s days are numbered Charlotte, the brown spider living in the barn, steps in and saves Wilbur, but at a price. This story is a classic, with some adult topics about friendship, life and death, yet may be too much for some audience members to understand.
The characters always come to life in the stories told at Adventure Theatre and Charlotte’s Web was no exception. Deidre LaWan Starnes as Charlotte the Spider used great body language when interacting with Wilbur, Templeton and the other animals in the barn and at the fair. She seemed to constantly be in motion (if you had eight legs I guess you would do a lot of moving, too!). Wilbur the pig was also not afraid to ‘get down and dirty’ as the case may be. Played by Davis Hasty, he was a pig with boundless energy. Like the entire cast he was just as engaging to watch and so realistic that you forgot you were watching actors as you saw the rat, the sheep and the other animals interact on stage. There were even times when the audience was invited to take part, which they did with gusto. Using big movements and over the top emotions while speaking loudly and clearly kept the audience interested in the happenings on stage, although a few of the very youngest audience members did at times get restless.
Costume Designer Heather Lockard made excellent choices in costumes. Using brighter colors for Wilbur, the Goose and the Gander, Lockard did not go all out with a pig snout or feathers, but used colors to define the characters. Charlotte was in more somber tones and Templeton the Rat was in all black as befit a rat. Set Designer Luciana Stecconi used a simple yet creative barn scene for the show. Properties Designer Dre Moore also used colorful ropes, a banner and quilt to define the all-important messages on Charlotte’s webs.
Adventure Theatre’s Charlotte’s Web is a beautifully told tale that should bring a tear to your eye.
Photos provided by Adventure Theatre
- Charlotte: Diedra LaWan Starnes
- Wilbur: Davis Hasty
- Fern/Goose: Blair Bowers
- Templeton/President: Jason B. McIntosh
- Arable/Homer/Uncle/Sheep: Chris Mancusi
- Avery/Gander/Lurvy/Carter: Danny Pushkin
- Director: Serge Seiden
- Assistant Director: Victoria Joy Murray
- Set Designer: Luciana Stecconi
- Costume Designer: Heather Lockard
- Lighting Designer: John Burkland
- Sound Designer: Matt Otto
- Properties Designer: Dre Moore
- Stage Manager: Maritita Lee Slayden
- Scenic Artist: Sasha Goldstein
- Master Electrician: Sarah MacKowski
- Assistant Stage Manager: Julie Roedersheimer
Disclaimer: Adventure Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6975.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.