Review

Beatrice the Butterfly
by North Coast Repertory Theatre

Young Beatrice the Butterfly has a challenge. She’s different than others, having a shortened wing that causes her to fly in circles. Her older brother Bill (Chandler Hurtley) is growing a little tired of sticking by her and doesn’t pass up his chance to hang with the Cool Bees (the bees wearing leather jackets who cruise onto the stage to the theme of Grease). But Bill will soon worry over leaving, as a sudden wind blows his little sister over the rainbow. But that’s where Beatrice’s adventures and education begin as she meets wondrous new characters who are all a little different.

The Theatre School’s director at North Coast Rep, Matt Thompson, adapted this new work for the stage based on a short story by Linda Sherry. The story is designed for the youngest children, and although more humor would probably help, the plot moves along quickly and has lots of characters that help engage the children, while Director Vanessa Dinning keeps the timing pretty brisk and terrific costumes by Jennifer Mah keeps the spell over most of the young audience members.

That spell includes a sort of Island of Misfit Toys group of characters. There’s Lilly the ladybug (Chloe Sherman) who is given to crying and is missing her spots. Emily North is Millie the millipede who has only two feet. And Miranda Colvin is an amusingly nerdy Matty the mantis with a great English accent. They are quick to befriend a dejected Beatrice (a sweet Delaney Hulshof) whose spirits are lifted with their patented “Super Bug Hug.”

The group of them end up going for a wild leaf ride into the ocean (courtesy of blue sheets being waved on the stage) where they are further lifted up by Walter the whale (Erik Larson as a sea captain wearing a stuffed whale around his torso) and meet Tammy the turtle (Meg Larkin). Bayleigh Bogan narrates the tale, and adult actor/mentor Tony Hamm is the wise and kind and happy and dancing Mr. Tree. The rest of the performers, including Beatrice’s parents (Jacob Surovsky and Alli Reissmann) and all the Cool Bees and Surfer Kids, ranging in age from eight to fourteen, round out the charming cast of characters.

Before it’s over, Beatrice will learn that “everyone’s different, and we’re all the same.” And whether or not that’s technically possible, it is a reason to celebrate, as they do with a big party full of dancing, including hula, disco, hand-jive, Macarena, and a big limbo contest that draws in kids from the audience and results in plenty of Super Bug Hugs.

Performed November 19 - 22, 2009

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~
 
 
Millie: Emily North
Papa/Walter: Jacob Surovsky
Lilly: Chloe Sherman
Narrator: Bayleigh Bogan
Mama: Alli Reissmann
Cool Bee: Joelle Leib
Matty: Miranda Colvin
Beatrice: Delaney Hulshof
Surfer Kid: Lilyanne Leib
Surfer Kid: Lauren Tropio
Cool Bee: Daniela Burrows
Surfer Kid: Haley Gale
Cool Bee: Tori Gatlin
Surfer Kid: Cayla Surovsky
Bill: Chandler Hartley
Tammy the Turtle: Meg Larkin
Mr. Tree/Mentor: Tony Hamm

Director: Vanessa Dinning
Prop Designer: Sunny Smith
Sound Design: Aaron Rumley
Lighting Design: Aaron Rumley
Costume Design: Jennifer Mah

   

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