Review: James & The Giant Peach

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On stage at NCT through Dec. 14, James & the Giant Peach entertains audiences of all ages.

 

… a wonderful theatrical treat to share with your children!

 

James & The Giant Peach (Nov. 6 – Dec. 14; All ages)
Nashville Children’s Theatre
25 Middleton St., Nashville
252-4675 • nashvillect.org
Show times: Sat – Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $20 adults, $14 children

Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) has a truly peachy offering for kids of all ages on its stage with its musical adaptation of James & The Giant Peach. Based on British author Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book from 1961, the story centers on a young orphan boy, James (Luke Collins), who enters a giant, enchanted peach for a whimsical journey with magically altered garden bugs.

NCT’s fun, theatrical journey through Dahl’s tale is delightful on all counts and a perfect show for introducing kids to the magic of live theater. Directed by Scot Copeland, the cast of nine bring the story to life in a highly entertaining fashion for young and old alike.

Making his NCT debut, Collins is the perfect choice to play James as he brings a huge amount of believable childlike charm to the role. NCT veterans Rona Carter and Martha Wilkinson portray James’ evil aunts, Spiker and Sponge, respectively. Both ladies give their characters just enough dose of badness to make it evident as to why James and his bug friends decide to flee, yet they do so with a lighthearted approach that isn’t scary or macabre as the characters are in the book.

The garden bugs are quite colorful, including Cori Laemmel (Ladybug), Shawn Knight (Grasshopper), Aleta Myles (Spider), Patrick Waller (Centipede) and Bobby Wykoff (Earthworm). Patricia Taber’s costume design for these characters is exquisite, and before the magical metamorphosis occurs, the actors portraying the bugs operate large puppet versions of their characters designed by Brian Hull, founder of Wishing Chair Productions at Nashville Public Library.  The implementation of the puppets at the beginning of the show adds lots of awe for kids.

James Rudolph wonderfully kicks of the first of the show’s 11 musical numbers as the mysterious Ladahlord who gives James the ingredients for the magic potion that enables the boy’s forthcoming journey.

Scott Leathers’ scenic/lighting design and Colin Peterson’s projection/sound design work in concert to provide a mesmerizing visual element to the show. A large screen on the back of the stage enhances the set by way of animated visual projections that aid in the storytelling.

From start to finish, James & the Giant Peach is a wonderful theatrical treat to share with your children, so go enjoy the wonder of theater together!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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