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Encore Stage & Studio Sleeping Beauty

By • Jun 11th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Sleeping Beauty
Encore Stage & Studio: (Info) (Web)
Thomas Jefferson Theater, Arlington, VA
Through June 16th
1:30 with intermission
$12/$10 Children, Students, Seniors
Reviewed June 7th, 2013

Encore Stage & Studio has created a remarkable production of Sleeping Beauty by Vera Morris and directed by Meghan Smith. It is the classic telling of the long-awaited birth of Princess Briar Rose who is cursed by the evil Witch Evilina, who feels especially betrayed by not receiving an invitation to attend the celebration of the birth of the child. After crashing the party, she announces that on Briar Rose’s 16th birthday she will prick her finger and die. The king and queen then get rid of every spindle in the land in hopes of keeping the witch’s curse from happening. The wise fairies manage to change the curse so that Princess Briar Rose will merely fall asleep until a kiss of true love by a handsome prince occurs. And as with all fairy tales, everyone lives happily ever after.

Such was the case of the opening night performance of Sleeping Beauty. All the kids really seemed to enjoy performing for a fairly packed house. The audience was great and caught on to the audience participation requests quickly.

Brandi Moore as Evilina gave a remarkable performance. Her emotions were real and her lines delivered with ease and great timing. On the comedic side was the Chef played by Alex Weinstein. He was over emotional, but with great humor so that you felt his pain during his gold plate quandary while at the same time laughing at him over said plate mishap. He was meticulous and high-strung, but lovable at the same time. Maggie Keane as Briar Rose, the sleeping beauty, played the part with just a touch of ditziness or whimsy, such as when she was mystified about the odd little room appearing in the garden. Thomas Schindler was excellent as Spider, a cunning little henchman. (Is Thomas getting typecast as a “bad guy?” He recently played Gollum in The Hobbit, now Spider!)

Kristin Jepperson’s set was well done. The crew changed the scenes quickly, although a bit less noise would be nice, especially the stairs to Evilina’s room. Perhaps pads on the bottom of the stair box may help deaden the noise, or hand holds so the stairs don’t have to be dropped into place? The set brought on for Evilina was creative, with flashing lights, giant spiders and bubbling potions. Debra Leonard’s costumes were pretty and matched each character. The Queen’s dress may have needed an iron touch-up, but was still lovely. So were the six colorful fairy princesses who arrived at Briar Rose’ s christening and her 16th birthday party. Evilina was true to her character in basic black.

All in all, Encore’s Sleeping Beauty was an enjoyable performance with laughter and love. And, of course, the happy ending.

Photo Gallery

Evilina (Brandi Moore) tricks Princess Briar Rose (Maggie Keane) with the curse of the spinning wheel Cursed under Evilina's spell, Princess Briar Rose (Maggie Keane) falls into deep sleep as she waits for true love's kiss to wake her
Evilina (Brandi Moore) tricks Princess Briar Rose (Maggie Keane) with the curse of the spinning wheel
Cursed under Evilina’s spell, Princess Briar Rose (Maggie Keane) falls into deep sleep as she waits for true love’s kiss to wake her
Prince Alexander (Topher Wagner) arrives to save Princess Briar Rose (Maggie Keane)
Prince Alexander (Topher Wagner) arrives to save Princess Briar Rose (Maggie Keane)

Photos by Larry McClemons

Disclaimer: Encore Stage & Studio provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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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.

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