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James and the Giant Peach
by San Diego Junior Theatre
James And The Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl and adapted by David Wood, is a delightful tale about a young boy who is tormented by the two Aunts that he goes to live with after his parents die. James is mysteriously given magic seeds that he drops into the earth enlarging all of the living things in the area. The Giant Peach that grows overnight becomes the home to various comical human-sized insects, and a worm. James escapes the wicked Aunts and joins the Peach inhabitants on a trip to New York.

San Diego Junior Theatre’s Peach (Feb 28-Mar 16, 2014) was superb!! Set designer Tony Cucuzella’s pivotal rotating and gyrating center set piece was an engineering marvel creating a visual explosion to the senses. Not to be outdone, Costume Designer Mallory Devlin’s use of Black and White to enhance the show’s color juxtaposition was masterful, as the costumes literally grabbed attention like fireworks. Director Ira Bauer-Spector’s blocking was like a ballet with everyone moving on and off, up and down, and around, over and down, all in a lovely synchronicity. The pacing was perfectly brisk, and the cast’s energy was invigorating. Michael Barahura’s lighting was captivating, with not only precise and imaginative coverage and coloring, but pin-point timing on the cues. Francia Cohen’s wigs were stunning. But, being a sound person myself, I was most impressed with Robin Whitehouse’s crystal clear sound.

And all of that has nothing to do with the cast who were simply, without a doubt, phenomenal as an ensemble, and as individuals. Getting the show out of the box with a home run, Trystan Colburn, a male playing Aunt Spiker was simply hilarious!!! It was just a delight that Emily Morrison (Aunt Sponge) was up to the task of sharing the limelight with him. Together they were as simply perfect as their spot-on prosthetics. Their performances should be shown to future students as instruction material. They were so good, that it was hard for anyone else in the cast to rise to that level. But, Pierre Cozic did it! As James, he had the perfect look, accent and acting chops. He carried the show on his little shoulders, and made it a hit. The inhabitants of the Peach were each very good in their own way, but Nick Asaro, as the blind earth worm, picked up the comedy baton once James escaped from the Aunts. He had the audience eating out of his hands. Even the storytellers stood out, which is hard for narrators to do.

The only thing that I was terribly disappointed with was that it was so short. I loved it so much , I would have liked to see a 2-hour show, and this show was less than one hour.

Performed February 28 - March 16, 2014

Scott M. Kolod
NYA Judge

~ Cast ~ 

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Earthworm: Nicholas Asaro 
Mrs. Trotter: Danielle Balmat 
Rhinoceros: Bella Basurto 
Storytellers: Lauren Basurto 
Voice: Veronica Berg 
Second Officer: Marc Berger 
Announcer: Nadia Bourche 
Little Girl/Child 1: Artemis Calderon 
Aunt Spiker: Trystan Colburn 
TV Reporter: Amanda Cooper 
Centipede: Nathan Cooper 
James Henry Trotter: Pierre Cozic 
Old Green Grasshopper: Tyler Dahms 
Old Man: Jake Goldfarb 
Captain of the Queen Mary: Nick Hatch 
Mr. Trotter: Joshua Henson 
Storytellers: Sofia Islas 
Storytellers: Imahni King-Murillo 
Child 3: Summer Kocher 
Old Woman: Tess Maretz 
Aunt Sponge: Emily Morrison 
Miss Spider: Jade Moujaes 
Child 2: Jaxon Poland 
First Officer: CJ Rabine 
Ladybird: Hanna Samson 
Rhinoceros: Luis Sherlinee 
Mayor of New York: Gabriel Smith 
New York Tour Guide: Allison Wuest

Director/Choreographer/Music Director: Ira Bauer-Spector
Set Design: Tony Cucuzzella
Lighting Design: Michael Barahura
Costume Design: Mallory Devlin
Hair and Make-up Design: Francia Cohen
Sound Design: Robin Whitehouse


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