Review: ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at The Puppet Co.

The fairytale of Sleeping Beauty is a beloved classic, and what better way to tell the ancient story then through the timeless art of puppetry? The Puppet Co. Playhouse in Glen Echo Park is well-known for their original adaptations and hand-crafted puppets. Their current production of Sleeping Beauty stays true to the tale, while adding their own special twists and wonderful touches of humor for both kids and adults to enjoy.

Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.
Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Most should know the story: A beautiful princess; a castle; an evil character; a curse; a prince; and a happy ending. This particular version was created specifically for puppets by Duane T. Bowers and directed by Allan Stevens.  Stevens was also responsible for the Puppet, Costume, and Set Design, creating visually stunning show, with a gorgeous briar patch that magically surrounds the castle at the onset of evil fairy’s curse.

Eric Brooks designed the special Frog Narrator puppet, who guides the audience through Briar Rose’s story and even gets to have his “own happily ever after.” The Frog is the only hand-puppet in the show and is an added character which helps in keeping the story more relatable to modern audiences, with quips and humorous interjections.

Puppeteers Elizabeth Dapo, Christopher Piper, and Joshua Aaron Rosenblum are the artists behind the scenes, or in this case under the scenes.  The stage is set with various levels of raised platforms that the artists maneuver around using a cast of primarily rod puppets. The puppets themselves are beautifully designed and the set is simple and charming. Creative effects are used to produce the illusion of fire and contraptions flying through the air, all of which are run by the three performers, including the pre-programmed lighting cues that are controlled by a foot pedal backstage.

The seating space is open and inviting, with tons of room for the kids to sit on the floor and benched seating surrounding the room. Due to the platforms, the entire stage is elevated so there isn’t a bad seat in the house and the artists’ manipulations of the pieces are primarily concealed.

Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.
Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Puppetry is an invaluable art form with roots as far back as 422 B.C.E.  The Puppet Co. helps to keeps this time-honored practice alive by continuously producing fun and entertaining theater for families. Experience the family favorite, Sleeping Beauty, through the magic of puppets and help the tradition flourish.

Running Time: 45 minutes, with no intermission.

Sleeping Beauty plays through May 29, 2016 at the Puppet Co. Playhouse- 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, in Glen Echo Park, in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets. call the box office at (301) 634-5380, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1552.gif


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