by Terrance Mc Arthur
The Main Street Theatre at 307 E. Main in Visalia has a wondrous ceiling curving over the audience, crisscrossed with a lattice of wooden beams. It’s a fitting home for The Enchanted Playhouse, a company enjoying its twenty-second season of plays geared to young audiences, and now Sleeping Beauty takes the Main Street stage.
This version of the fairy tale, written by Michele L. Vacca, frames the story as a bedtime telling to a group of children. Daisee Kausen, Tori Kausen, and Elizabeth Skidmore are cute and attentive as they listen as the Story Teller (Janet Moore) narrates the action of the stage. Greg Storseth and Melina Jahnigen are affably regal as the King and Queen who long for a child. They aren’t worried about having an heir as much as they desire to share their love. Jahnigen does very well on only three weeks of rehearsal, and Elijah Martinez, who stood out as a minor character in “Camp Charming,” is cheerfully grumpy in a big moustache as the advisor to the Royal Family.
The traditional good fairies and bad fairies have their place in this retelling of the classic folk legend. Kristyne Miguel, Kirstin Warren, and Garren Adams are Rose Petal, Moonbeam, and Twinkletoes. The two K’s are delightful and graceful, and Adams (who was outrageous in Charming) is not afraid to come off as goofy and scatterbrained. Barbara Smith’s costumes are lovely and fluid, and the wings reflect the characters, especially the leaf-covered ones for Twinkletoes.
The dark side of the Fair world is ably represented by Alison Whalen, who showed amazing scene-stealing ability in The Little Mermaid and New Clothes for the Emperor. She roars through the role of Belladonna, the fairy with a grudge against the King and Queen, with a cackling laugh that would make Margaret Hamilton jealous. Her partner in villainy, Blackbeak the Crow, is Hope Storseth, who manages to express emotion through her wings.
Princess Rosalind (Laney Sullivan), the Beauty with a sleeping problem, barely appears before the second act. Long of limb and short of hair, she manages to bring a Roaring-20’s flapper image into the medieval silhouette of her costume. Levi Mauricio, as a charming prince, is given two scenes, thanks to a well-handled “dream” dance sequence.
Rachel Baskovich and Faith Baskovitch stretch and pose gloriously as the pet cats of the princess who falls under the spell of the sharp spindle of a spinning wheel.
You can fall under that spell, too. Sleeping Beauty continues through February 22 with Friday and Saturday performances at 7pm for $7, and the 2pm Sunday matinee for $5. For further information, call (559) 739-4600, or go to www.enchantedplayhouse.org.
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