Review of Through the Looking Glass

Reviewed by Clyde Morrison

It is always interesting to go to the younger versions (this one of 7 to 11 year olds) of Pinewood Players. Sometimes you’ll see accomplished actors who project their voices and act like veterans with mature hand and body movements. And sometimes you see young people just acting like young people. Through the Looking Glass had some of each. The director, Debbie Ryder, had more youngsters in her camp than she had parts in the play, so she double and triple cast some of the larger roles. In the program it listed who was Alice in the first scene and who was Alice in the second and third scenes. Since the multiple leading characters wore the identical costumes, it was easy to keep track of the actors. It all worked out well and we got to see several more actors that way. I particularly enjoyed the three Alices. All three were excellent but each had a different style. The first Alice, Lila Williams, played it straight and did a fine job. The second Alice was more animated and kept moving, especially in the Humpty Dumpty scene, making the scene come alive with activity while the solo by Humpty was being done by Houston Hull. That was one of my favorite parts of the whole show. And, the third Alice gave a very polished and mature control of the stage, indicating to me that she had experience as an actress. She was played by Makenna Jones. Another highlight from the show was the ending where all three sang together in the final number.

I know that Houston Hull had been with the Pinewood Players camps shows before, and his experience really showed in his Humpty Dumpty. He had a lot of lines to memorize, and he did them extremely well. In addition to a fine voice, his hand and body motions were those of experience on the stage. The whole Humpty Dumpty scene was probably the audience’s favorite scene in the play.

I also enjoyed the humor that the red and white knights put out. The white knight won their battle and demanded that the red knight call for mercy. The red knight refused for some time, but when the white knight threatened to run him through while he was on his back on the ground, the red knight meekly said “mercy.” Both boys had good speaking voices even though they seemed young. However, they both stood tall in their parts. Well done.

I couldn’t keep track of all the fine voices in the performance. Some were typically nervous and quietly spoke their lines on the stage, and others came right out and projected their voices so well that I’m sure the last row had no trouble hearing them. Even those in small parts did quite a job. Chloe Herron, for instance, had a small part as a hot dog salesman, but her voice was one of the best for projecting. I am always amazed at the memorization that all the actors and actresses did. They had to memorize their parts, their songs and their choreography. What a job to be accomplished in such a short time.

Kudos to the adults who guided these young actors and actresses. The program did not list the people who did the costumes and painted the scenery on the sets, but what a fantastic job. Each of the characters, all 25 or so of them, had a very bright and beautiful costume. It made for a complete and enjoyable show. This has to be one of the finest drama camps for youngsters in the state. Now we can just imagine what the next show of the teenage camp will be like. See you there.

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