THUMBELINA Wows Pint Size Audience at Kelsey Theatre

by Jeannine James

Stage IV Productions’ touring musical rendition of THUMBELINA delighted an audience of young girls and their parents this Saturday at the Kelsey Theatre. Thumbelina is a child of the flowers who is just the size of a thumb. She is stolen from the people of the flowers by a witch as a child. Thumbelina meets a wide array of colorful characters during her adventures including a toad who wants to marry her, Finley the Fish, a beautiful butterfly, a couple of English Beatles, a lovely old field mouse and a blind mole until she finally finds her way back home riding on the back of a swallow. Her adventures enthralled the young audience and her loving and kind disposition taught a valuable lesson to an audience full of young girls.

The classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson was retold by an ensemble of five young performers. Hans, the story teller, and his friends play all the characters using simple props and quick changes to transform themselves magically. The simple set was intricately designed with very minor changes to aide in the imagination and to guide the audience along with Thumbelina from the land of the flowers to a stream, a forest, an underground labyrinth of tunnels and even a ride in the sky on the wings of a swallow. The set, though simple, was very effective.

The cast was energetic and creative and truly captured the imaginations of their young audience doing their best to bring to life a slow script and weak musical numbers. The script and musical numbers were targeted for a young audience and with the exception of several Beatles jokes when Thumbelina befriended a pair of bugs. Unfortunately, it left very little for an adult audience. The vocals were adequate but left this reviewer a bit disappointed knowing that these are professional performers. Ultimately though, the young audience was enthralled and the parents enjoyed watching their children magically transformed to a world where a little girl can be only 2 inches tall and yet have amazing adventures.

Stage IV Productions is a professional touring company specializing in children’s theatre. They travel across the country with their entire cast, crew and set in a 15 passenger van often performing two or three shows per day. The cast facilitated a short question and answer session at the end of the performance allowing the young audience to learn more about the performers and the show. THUMBELINA is a valuable educational experience and enchanted its young audience.

The Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College is the home of ten resident theatre companies. In addition, the Kelsey Theatre offers a full season of Kelsey Kids Shows featuring different touring professional companies each month. Upcoming Kelsey Kids Shows include: CHARLOTTE’S WEB, THE TOWN MOUSE & THE COUNTRY MOUSE and CINDERELLA.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Bruce Craig Miller
Directed by Ford Flannagan
Music Direction by Paul Deiss
February 16, 2013
The Kelsey Theatre at MCCC
1200 Old Trenton Road
West Windsor, NJ 08550 U.S.A.
(609) 570-3333

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