Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at Chicago Children's Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It was adapted by Dwayne Hartford based on the book by Kate DiCamillo and it was directed by Stuart Carden. It was about this china rabbit named Edward (Patrick Budde); well, his name was Edward at first. He switched gender, he switched owners, and he switched his ideas about a lot of different things. He had a lot of different owners (Melanie Brezill and Kelvin Roston, Jr.) and a lot a scary and bad things happened to him. He learns how, even though losing someone that you love is hard, you should still love people. And everything kind of goes in a circle back to where he started. I thought this was a really really great show. It was so touching and beautiful, and I really loved everything about it.

The production looked like they were telling you a folk story in a barn (set design by John Musial). I think that was perfect for the story because it was about a traveling rabbit who goes a lot of places all around the country. Edward (designed by Rachel Anne Healy) and all of his outfits stuck out because the colors were so big and vibrant. He was so beautiful and shiny up on the stage. He looked like real china. All of his outfits were so creative and cool and he looked exactly like what I thought Edward Tulane should look like. And I loved the pocket watch. It was so beautiful and so magical. It really added a lot to have everything seem so magical and it really was so perfect. There are beautiful and magical things, but they happen in everyday life, and the look of the production shows that to you. There was another beautiful puppet (designed by Emily Breyer) as well. It was a dog named Lucy (Brezill) who was one of the various owners of Edward. She was made out of sewing patches, so original and cool, and it went with the ordinary country theme.

The person telling you the story is the Grandmother (Jessie Fisher) who gives Edward to his first owner, Abilene (Brezill). And then she starts to take a disliking to Edward because he doesn't know how to love yet. Her grandmother is very dark all the time and does not tell very comforting bedtime stories. They are all about a princess that turns into a warthog! She tells that story as a cautionary tale to Edward that he should always love people. I loved the shadow puppets that they used while the grandmother was telling the story. Jessie Fisher switched her characters a lot, like when she told the really scary story as the grandmother then a moment later she was the much nicer character of the narrator. Everyone (except Edward) in the show played a bunch of different characters. You got to see their voices and the way they move change on the spot and that was really cool to watch. One moment Melanie Brezill was a sick girl and the next moment she was a very angry cook. Kelvin Roston Jr. was very different when he was playing and adult from when he was playing a kid. He didn't make fun of children--no one in the show did--when he was pretending to be one, and I really loved that. His body changed from being kind of slumped over as Bull and then being more energetic and peppy as the kid Bryce.

When Edward was thrown off the boat was a very moving scene because there was nothing he could do to save himself. Even though he had a mind, he still wasn't able to save himself from sinking and the whole time he was on the bottom of the ocean he said that it was really unpleasant. And that makes you see that he really does have feelings. I think one of my favorite families that he went to was the fisherman Lawrence (Roston) and his wife Nellie (Brezill). I felt like they seemed like really sweet people but they had a lot of bad things happen to them. One of them, was their daughter's (Fisher) attitude! Why would she just throw out her parents' things? That's not for her to decide! One of the most moving scenes for me (spoiler alert!) was when Sarah Ruth (Brezill) died because she was so sweet and she didn't deserve anything that was happening to her; she was just an innocent kid. And Bryce took care of her so well and he helped her in every single way possible. I was sad for him because he had tried so hard to keep her well and alive, but it was just too hard for a tween to handle.

People who would like this show are people who like china rabbits, moving stories, and warthog princesses. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. It is a great show for everyone. It was beautiful. I loved it!

Photos: Charles Osgood

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