First Look review: James and the Giant Peach

by Bryanna Madson

The performance of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by First Stage was amazing! The story is about James' adventures after his parents were killed by a giant rhino! James was sent to live at an orphanage until his only living relatives took him. Two greedy aunts named Spiker, who is skinny as a pole, and Sponge, who is fat as a balloon. One day, a mysterious man approaches James and gives him a weird recipe for a potion that will change his life. James was about to drink when his hand drops the potion and the chance for a better life slips through his fingers. However, the barren peach tree grows a ripe, juicy, ginormous peach right in front of James and his aunts.

Bryanna with her younger sister Ella in the lobby.
Spiker and Sponge crafted a plan and although they got a lot of money, poor James got none. James fell into a hole in the peach and inside were many insects, a spider and a worm. James was making friends with everyone when the stem of the peach snapped. Down they rolled until they landed in the ocean. Spiker and Sponge were terrified when they lost their peach because of all the contracts they had signed to receive money advances. So they left England and took a ship to America. Meanwhile, James had a great idea to use spider's web to lasso seagulls and attach them to the stem of the peach so they could fly! James' aunts spotted them flying in the air and tried to get their peach and James back but they were not successful. The peach landed on them and James was finally free and able to live with an odd but loving family.

The show is double cast in various parts and the Juicy Cast was on the night that I went. They gave an extraordinary performance. When I read the book, James in my imagination looked exactly like Nolan Van Haren did as James. He did a wonderful job portraying the character and he had a very enjoyable voice. Spiker and Sponge were played by Amber Nicole Dilger and Jenny Wanasek respectively. They worked extremely well together and both played convincing cruel and greedy, yet funny, villains. All of the insects did very well using their puppets and themselves to portray unique characters and did very well being bug like. The actors had strong voices, kept the pace of the show fast and fun, and looked like they were having a good time. The set, which was created by Kristin Ellert, was incredible! It was another character in the show. Between the shadow puppetry and the moving scenery, the creativity of the set helped make everything come alive. I recommend this show and I think that everyone who worked on this play was marvelous! 

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Thank you to our first youth reviewer Bryanna Madson! Bryanna is 9 years old and loves using her imagination to write stories. She loves reading, writing and acting and has appeared in 5 community theater shows and school plays including It's A Wonderful Life at Sunset Playhouse.

Learn more about First Stage's First Look program. 

1 comment:

Joanie Guidarelli said...

Great job Bryanna, I love your writing. Hope your having a great summer.

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