Sunday, June 6, 2010

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Portland Center Stage (Grade B+)

Director: Rose Riordan
Lyrics and Music by William Finn / Book by Rachel Sheinkin

Leaf Coneybear   .....   Connor Bond
Marcy Park   .....   Ka-Ling Cheung
Mitch Mahoney   .....   Gavin Gregory
William Barfee   .....  Isaac Lamb
Chip Tolentino   .....   Raymond J Lee
Rona Lisa Peretti   .....   Susannah Mars
Logainne'Schwartzy' Schwartandgrubeierre   .....   Ellie Mooney
Douglas Panch   .....   Darius Pierce
Olive Ostrovsky   .....   Sara Catherine Wheatley

sez says: this was a lot of fun. The personalities of pre--and early--pubescent children are a treasure trove for comedy.  And this story puts that gawky, awkward, ever so serious and delicate time of life on display without mockery.  Two performers stood out:  Isaac Lambs and Ellie Mooney. Both of these people put something extra into their parts that made them shine. Everyone else did great jobs -- but the physicality of Lamb and Mooney made the whole performance special.  The story is unmitigated fun, as contestants engage The Bee. And the audience participation was just right and added a touch of knowledge that every performance was being made into its own unique presentation based on strangers to the cast appearing on stage. The dancing too was top notch. The only down side was that some of the lyrics were impossible to hear/understand. That made a near perfect production lose some luster. (grade B+)

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