When I was asked to write a story about director/choreographer Linden Carbaugh’s interpretation of Roald Dahl James and the giant peach at the Gettysburg Community Theater, I knew I was in for a treat. But I never imagined how much fun I would have, or the emotions it would touch in my own heart.
The story concerns James Henry Trotter (admirably played by Chase Bowman) as a seven-year-old orphan who finds himself lost and alone after the death of his loving parents. One night, in the realms of his imagination, he remembers and longs for his parents and the love he once knew. But shortly after falling asleep, James is abruptly awakened by the orphanage’s matron (Taryn He) who bursts through the door and informs James that he has to go live with his two evil aunts, Spiker (Tessa Trax, who perfectly portrays the spoiled, lazy, and materialistic qualities of her character), and Sponge (Audrey Trax, the mastermind of the operation who plots to get rich quick with every move they make), to immediate effect.
Neither James nor the two aunts seem overly pleased with the new arrangement, but Spiker and Sponge never let a good tragedy go to waste, hatching a plan to put it to use in their manic “not good” plans.
James realizes it won’t be the “happily ever after” he hoped for when a mysterious stranger (Kai Dittrich) appears out of nowhere, offering him a magic potion of slippery crocodile tongues – and potential freedom.
Just when it seems like everything has gone wrong, something peculiar begins to happen and a giant peach begins to grow on a barren tree. Spiker and Sponge hatch new get-rich-quick schemes and punish James by having him sleep outside to guard the tree.
In the middle of the night, the peach (and magic) grows and James suddenly finds himself inside the peach, nose to nose with a giant spider (Andi Athanasakis) who is actually quite gentle and compassionate, Grasshopper (Caden Miller), a wise-cracking centipede (Mikey Athanasakis), Ladybug (Sarah Rice), and a timid, shy earthworm (Theo Gageby) who later overcomes her fears.
Jame’s initial concerns of being eaten up by the new characters are soon replaced by the realization that they all share much more in common than he could have ever imagined.
As James and his new friends ponder the great meaning of life, love and loss in fishing, they suddenly find themselves descending towards New York, through a certain world famous chocolate factory, towards the sea. and towards a great new adventure.
Through this adventure, they will face their fears, find friendship, compassion and incredible courage, as well as something none of them have ever known: freedom.
Technical Director Michael Connelly and the show’s designers showed their skill in bringing the scene to life, making the audience feel like they were part of every scene, through the use of clever costumes, visual aids, settings lighting, sound effects and an assortment. of accessories.
Musical director Mary George brought the period songs to life, from the 1930s (and sometimes the 1960s).
The actors use a unique technique in which they sing to imitate the sound of the insects they have played. While some of the lyrics are a bit hard to make out, the technique added a “Remarkably fantasmarific” quality to each character.
Linden Carbaugh’s playful choreography had audience members thrilled along with cast members.
My favorites were the Grasshopper song reminding James of his parents’ love, the Spiker and Sponges duet “I got you” and Earthworm’s “Plump and Juicy”. The big screen backdrop made me feel like I was right there fishing with the actors.
The entire crew and cast did an exceptional job bringing this play to life and poured their hearts into everything they did, leaving me so glad I came.
The show continues next weekend. If you are looking for something entertaining and family friendly, I give you James and the giant peach two thumbs up, and I absolutely recommend you go see it.
Image caption featured: Chase Bowman plays the title role in James and the Giant Peach this weekend at the Gettysburg Community Theatre. Tickets can be ordered online in advance. Photo courtesy of Blayne Miller.
Holly Weaver, a journalist, was raised by two United States Marine Corps sergeants in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She is a wife and mother of four children. She tries to live and teach my children that while every day may not be good, there is something good to be found in every day.