WDL's “Elephant Man” compelling yet uneven
John Merrick was an English man in the late 1800's with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity. He began to develop abnormally during the first few years of his life. His skin appeared thick and lumpy, he developed an enlargement of his lips, and a bony lump grew on his forehead. One of his arms and both feet became enlarged and at some point during his childhood he fell and damaged his hip, resulting in permanent lameness. When he was 11, his mother died and his father soon remarried. Rejected by his father and stepmother, he left home. He had no formal education.
His true story is one not of bitterness toward the life thrust on him, but redemption of the soul.
Rookie director Andrew Chambliss fortunately surrounded himself with a few community theatre veterans to produce a drama as variegated as Merrick's own skull. His pacing was a bit slow. Theatres, to reduce set costs, are employing slides back lit on screens to create the period feel. Chambliss' choices were good but projecting them on the walls of WDL took away from the action on stage. While I have no doubt the director researched the original novel thoroughly, neither I nor my companion could understand the relevance of the two “Pinhead” girls to the plot.
Merrick (Craig Stump), sans makeup, was excellent in his portrayal; exhibiting anguish, pain, heartbreak and humility. Frederick Treves (Edward Emmi) displayed his character's hypocrisy with panache and a consistent accent. Mrs. Kendal (Nance Weber) can always be counted on for a strong performance.
Til April 2. WilmingtonDramaLeague.org 764.11172
World Premiere at The Barnstormers in Ridley Park
Aisle Say has til now never ventured just two exits into PA from 95 to visit Barnstormers, but it has long been a venue for many accomplished Delaware theatre people.
We all like Shakespeare's prose. Even more than that, we all like to make fun of trailer parks and their stereotypical inhabitants. (Though never willing to admit this in any watering hole in Greenville, Aisle Say has been fascinated with women in spandex, hair curlers, chewing 4 sticks of gum while decimating the English language out of one side of their mouth. )
The collision of this irresistible force and immovable object occurs with the World Premiere of “Shakespeare in the Trailer Park.” Veteran Director Marsha Amato-Greenspan leads a cast with Delaware ties, including the much-too-cute-for-her-own-safety Dina Bogina, Cindy and Bill Starcher, Tim Sheridan, Nancy Kersey and Karyn Fry.
Til April 10. BarnstormersTheater.com 610.461.9969
First State Ballet to stage The Adventures of Pinocchio at The Grand
Contrary to opinion from Aisle Say's two ex's, he will not be dancing the title character in 1st State Ballet's current production.
On April 8 and 9 on the main stage of Wilmington’s Grand Opera House, First State Ballet Theatre, Delaware’s professional ballet company, will present, The Adventures of Pinocchio, another FSBT world premiere by internationally acclaimed choreographer Viktor Plotnikov.
Based on the famed children’s story by Carlo Collodialso made popular as a Disney classic children’s moviePlotnikov’s Pinocchio is set to exciting and familiar opera highlights including the works of Donizetti, Gounod, Rossini, Verdi and others. The 60 plus person cast will wear spectacular new Plotnikov-designed costumes now being created in Russia.
TicketsattheGrand.org 877.37 GRAND