‘Rikki Tikki Tavi’ at Maryland Ensemble Theatre by Mike Spain

Maryland Ensemble Theatre’s Fun Company once again produces a fun, entertaining show suitable for all ages with their production of Rikki Tikki Tavi. Sarah Shulman adapts Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale for a younger audience. When I saw the opening performance on Saturday, I found the show attracted more adults than children.

Katie Rattigan (Tim Eichelberger), Courtney McLaughlin (Darzee the bird), and Tim Eichelberger (Nag the cobra). Photo courtesy of Maryland Ensemble Theatre.

Some of that could have been due to curiosity about the puppetry. Director Julie Herber makes sure the puppets are the stars of this production. She deserves credit for putting together a cast of excellent storytellers to deliver the story. The two cobra puppets were easily the most exciting ones. There were masks of a bird, mongoose, and muskrat. There were some props but they were sparse enough not to take away from the action on the stage.

The talented cast is: Katie Rattigan (Rikki Tikki Tavi), Courtney McLaughlin (Darzee the bird), Tim Eichelberger (Nag the cobra), and Ashley Hall (Nagaina the cobra).  Everyone – except Katie – plays some of the other characters in the family. They are all exceptional storytellers and brought the story to life with puppets and masks.

Eichelberger portrayed the evil and bullying Nag. Hall came off domineering and vengeful. I enjoyed the fight scenes with the cobras and watching them twisting on stage. McLaughlin’s Darzee was playful and humorous and Rattigan’s Rikki Tikki Tavi was adventurous and determined.

Katie Rattigan (Rikki Tikki Tavi) and Courtney McLaughlin (Darzee the bird). Photo courtesy of Maryland Ensemble Theatre.

My five year-old daughter really enjoyed the show. She said she loved everything and on the ride home she was having fun saying the title Rikki Tikki Tavi over and over. It was an added treat for her to meet the friendly cast after the show and see and touch the puppets.

Running Time: Approximately 40 minutes.

Rikki Tikki Tavi plays on Saturdays and Sundays through October 7, 2012 at The Fun Company at Maryland Ensemble Theatre – 31 West Patrick Street, in Frederick, MD. For tickets, call the box office (301) 694-4744, or order them online.


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