Friday, July 18, 2014

Review of Emerald City Theatre's Charlotte's Web at the Broadway Playhouse

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Charlotte's Web. It was based on the book by E. B. White, adapted by Joseph Robinette, and it was directed by Ernie Nolan. It was about a runt named Wilbur (Liam Dahlborn) who was a very smart pig, well he was smarter than most pigs. He could talk to a spider and he could spell some. Because he is a runt, the man who owns him (Jeremy Pfaff) wants to kill him because he won't grow up to be a prize-winning pig or a pig they are able to sell. But then his daughter Fern (Avery Moss) says that she will take care of him and feed him. Then they can't take care of him anymore so they asks Fern's Uncle Homer (Casey Morris) to take care of him. The problem in the play is that Fern's Uncle Homer might want to turn him into bacon, but then Wilbur makes friends with a spider named Charlotte (Tosha Fowler), and he thinks "everything's going his way." Like in Oklahoma. It is about friendship, hope, how words can save somebody's life, and the rights of pigs. This is a very pig-triotic play.

I think I would have had a lot more fun at this show if not for the people sitting behind us. The problem was that the people sitting behind us did not really know how to control their children. I wouldn't object to kids talking about the show, if their parents reminded them to whisper. And it's adorable when they say something out loud about the show like "Go, Charlotte!" or "I love you, Wilbur." But these kids were doing physical things like throwing their blanket-with-a-head two rows in front of them and then not being sorry when the person picked it up and handed it back to them. They were also kicking my seat like crazy! When you take your kid to the theater, advise them before about how they are not allowed to yell or throw or play during the show. It disturbs everyone around them! And tell them to whisper to you if they want to leave, or have a question, or need to go to the bathroom. Adults need to do this too, but I think adults will remember the rules more.

I think that Charlotte is a great character. I liked her in the book and I liked her in this. I thought this actress did a great job at kind of being the leader of all the farm animals. Even though she might be the smallest, she was the most trustworthy. She is kind of like a smartypants, but she is a good kind of smartypants. She likes to make friends and she doesn't think everybody doesn't deserve to be friends with her because they are dumber than her. I also really liked the part at the beginning of the book and the play when she says "Salutations!" but I wish that, like in the book, the script had made her say that more. I also really liked how Charlotte was a spider-woman more than a spider; I liked that because it made it seem different from the book. I usually don't like that, but this made a good change. I think that she was not over-the-top because she always seemed like the character, but she also was never under what she should be because Charlotte is a really calm character.

Templeton (Erik Strebig) I thought was a very funny character. I like how they brought the 50s kind of into his costume (by Alarie Hammock) like how he had the Mickey Mouse hat. I thought that was pretty funny. Templeton kind of moved like the rat in the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, only he was less evil. It was similar because when he moved he would snap his fingers, but he didn't do the "ahhh" sound. When he came back from the fair the next morning, he had been eating all night and all day, and he kind of seemed like he was drunk, but on food and soda pop. I also liked it when Templeton came back from getting the final word; he sang this little song about how "It's a rat's paradise!" and he had a big lollipop that he did a dance with. I thought it was hilarious.

I really liked the scene where the mother and daughter at the fair (Laura A. Harrison and Lily Dahlborn) went over and looked at Wilbur and said, how cute that little pig was and how he might be the prizewinner. But then Uncle (Jay Mast), who is a pig wearing a leather jacket and sucking on a toothpick, comes over and is like making really weird movements at the girl and her mother, like twirling his fingers and pointing them like guns and clicking. And then the mother is kind of like, "Come on dear, let's go." I thought it was funny because of the way she registered what the pig was doing, but what he was doing was also very funny.

People who would like this show are people who like pigs in leather jackets, mickey mouse hats, and pig-triotic shows. People will enjoy this show because it is funny, bittersweet, and the costumes are great. If I were Charlotte the word that I would put on my web for this show would be "Some Play"!

Photos: Tom McGrath

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