‘Princess and the Pea’ a great take on a classic story

Kids’ corner - August 2005


 
 

Hear ye, hear ye. Gather around and go see “The Princess and the Pea” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This play is a great experience for all ages.

In this version of the story, Ruth (the princess of the first story) is a poor, spunky, funny, responsible girl. She lives with her father, loves to read and fantasizes about having her life like the characters in her books.

Meanwhile, at the castle, Queen Evermean, a self-centered yet caring mother whose goal is to find a princess for her son, has ordered Chester the Jester (the assistant to the queen who always is trying to do the right thing) to bring all the ladies he can find and test them to marry her son, Prince Wellington.

The problem is Prince Wellington does not want to marry any of the girls. He wants to fall in love with someone who loves to write like him and marry her. While this is all unfolding, the queen is planning to have Buffy Binkleman, a dumb blond who follows whatever the queen says, to win the contest and marry her son.

Of course, this play is nothing without its fabulous actors and actresses. As I sat in the theater, I saw everyone in the play giving their all. Out of all the characters, though, I loved Queen Evermean (Alexandra Billings) and Chester the Jester (Ed Kross). Billings and Kross always got the audience’s attention when they came on stage; the audience was entranced by their every movement and wondering what they would say next. All through the play the audience was in giggles, loving the characters even more with every line.

Another detail, the actors all had beautiful singing voices, in particular Papa (Don Forston), Prince Wellington (Travis Turner) and Ruth (Cassie Wooley). When they sang, I felt as though I got goose bumps on my goose bumps, as my third-grade teacher would say. I knew what the character was feeling and understood why. The singing was fabulous.

But, also, a play is nothing without its surroundings. After the play, I guarantee that you will marvel over the settings and the sounds they created to make you feel as though you were actually in the Middle Ages experiencing it. I loved how they made me feel I was just another person in the palace watching and helping this play out. There is even part of the performance in which the audience gets to stand up and get involved. 

But what I loved best is the theater itself. Some theaters are so big you have to have binoculars to see what the characters are doing.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is just the right size. You can see the characters easily. In other theaters you are uncomfortable and focus on that rather than the play. From the moment I sat down, I felt as comfortable as can be.

Moreover, this theater gives you many benefits and not only is it great but its location is wonderful. Right on Navy Pier! After the performance you can go get a bite to eat, go on some rides, take a boat ride on Lake Michigan or visit the Chicago Children’s Museum. 

This funny, lovable fairly tale will open your eyes to another possibility to what really happened to “The Princess and the Pea.” I would highly recommend this play to anyone. Amanda Bradley, 12, Chicago

Theater as terrific as the show I have been to many theaters before in Chicago. I recently went to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to see “Princess and the Pea.” I loved the show for many reasons.

First, I thought the theater was wonderful. How many times has someone who is taller than you sat in front of you and you could not see what was going on? Probably a lot.

Well, that never happens at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater because no matter where you sit, you have the best seat in the house.

Second, the actors and actresses were magnificent and very funny, especially the prince, who was played by Travis Turner, and Ruth, who was played by Cassie Wooley. Another actress who was charming and witty was Alexandra Billings, who played the queen, and Ed Kross, who played the jester.

When you put all of these characters and actors together, things get very interesting.

Finally, this play was not exactly the same story as the fairy tale. It is about a girl who always has her head in books.

On her birthday, she decides to go out on her own and gets stuck in the forest. She ends being knocked out and waking up in a kingdom where they are conducting the princess tests to decide who will marry the prince.

From there, all sorts of things happen.

I would recommend this play to people of all ages. It is a great show. So go see it now. Olivia Bradley, 10, Chicago

 
 





 
 
 
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