Friday, March 13, 2015

Review of Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Play at Emerald City Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Play. It was based on the books by Mo Willems and the script and lyrics were by Mo Willems! The music was by Deborah Wicks La Puma. It was directed by Morgan Ashley Madison. It was about two best friends named Elephant Gerald (David Wesley Mitchell) and Piggie (Rachel Shapiro) who go on crazy adventures (for younger kids) where they learn about friendship and sharing and how not to get super mad even if someone breaks your favorite toy. I thought that it was super-fun and I think that kids will really love it.

I have been reading Elephant and Piggie books since I was very little and I loved them and got to go and meet Mo Willems and get my book signed. And I still have the one that Mo Willems signed for me. When I was little I figured out that Piggie was an optimist and Gerald was a pessimist. When I heard about this I was very excited. I was kind of scared that they would mess it all up, but they did not! They didn't change any of the story from any of the books, though they did add on, but I still think that was very good. They didn't sing about things that were completely unnecessary. They had songs that were about being best friends, ice cream, loving your new toy, and fancy pool costume parties. Those are good songs to have because they are like the books and not completely made up.

Gerald is a great character. I think the actor did a great job making him a character that is complicated because he is a pessimist, and pessimists are harder for kids to understand than people who are happy all the time, but then he is still a lovable character. He's hilarious and I just love the character of Gerald. I really liked when they were getting ready for the party and he came out in a Phantom of the Opera costume (by Sarah Jo White). He came out and he was already in an elephant costume, so a pessimistic talking elephant in a Phantom of the Opera costume is probably one of best things that has ever happened. And the music plays and he swishes his cape and his ears are just there and it is hilarious. I also really liked the song "Ice Cream Hero," which is about how he is going to share this ice cream with Piggie and he is so proud of himself. I liked that because he was in a superhero cape and he was just so worked up about how he was going to give this ice cream to Piggie. And there were Squirelles (Teressa LaGamba, Eliza-Jane Morris, and Daryn Harrell) dancing in the background. And I thought that the ice cream looked really awesome (props design by Aji Slater).

I really liked Piggie because she was very cute. She was very lovable and Piggie has always reminded me some of myself--like very energetic all the time. And I think she captured that energy very nicely because sometimes even myself who is always energetic gets slightly annoying to other people. But she wasn't annoying at all. I have no idea how she does it! One of my favorite moments was when she was playing her trumpet and everyone was like, "This is horrible, we have to leave." And by the end, it actually sounded pretty good. She is determined to play that trumpet and then even after they say "You are not doing very well" she is still not hurt because she knows she is practicing and can keep on trying. It was one of my favorite parts because it really showed Piggie's personality.

The Squirelles were like the backup singers for Elephant and Piggie. The squirrels in the book are like the friends of Elephant and Piggie. And they are still the friends of Elephant and Piggie but they have a different occupation. I loved their outfits. They had these giant puffy tails and their dresses were actually gorgeous. They also danced in the background. I think these characters were there so they could help Elephant and Piggie with little intrusions to make the stories work. Like, if the Squirelles had not told Piggie that Elephant did not break her toy, it was a break-and-snap toy all along, then they might have been mad at each other forever and that would have ended their friendship. That shows that even if you have a best friend, it is good to have other friends too. I really liked when one of the Squirelles (LaGamba) was so fascinated by the break-and-snap toy and kept saying "Break. And snap. Break. And snap." Then the other two, who were still sane, had to take her away from the break-and-snap toy. And I thought that was very funny.

People who would like this show are people who like dancing squirrels, ice cream, and break-and-snap toys. I think people should definitely go see this show. It is a great adaptation of the books, and if your kids love these books, they would definitely love this play. I think if you have kids or are a kid you will like it more, but even if you're an adult and forced to see it by your Elephant-and-Piggie-loving friends, you will still have a great time.

Photos: Johnny Knight

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