Arts & Leisure

“Winnie the Pooh” at RCT was a treat

CAST OF “WINNIE” at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster (RCT photo).

By Thom deMartino

In the shadows of the Hundred Acre Wood, prowls a mysterious beast which has never been seen before… the dreaded Heffalump! But not to worry — because Winnie the Pooh and Piglet plan to find and capture the mysterious creature with the help of their friends, before it makes any mischief… or any more then they themselves already do, anyway.

It is autumn once again, which means time for the Rose Center theater’s annual Rose Kids production — this season, it’s “The Wonderful Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Friends.” To be clear, this is not a “house of mouse” production: instead, it is an original piece, with music and lyrics written by the Rose Center’s own managing executive director, Tim Nelson.

In “Pooh,” we are introduced to the imaginative young Christopher Robin, and his animated group of animal friends, including Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Tigger, Eeyore — and, of course, last but certainly not least, Winnie the Pooh. The absent-minded Pooh and the ever-fretful Piglet are busy hatching a plan to capture the mysterious beastie lurking about (which, mind you, no one has yet seen), while Rabbit is more concerned with the newest additions to the forest, Kanga and her child Roo.

Kanga being much larger then the rest of the friends, Rabbit thinks she’s a bit scarier and more threatening, and tries to instill his fears and paranoia in the other animals. Meanwhile, the eternally mopey Eeyore the donkey laments his birthday that he’s certain no one will celebrate, compounded by the loss of his beloved tail.

Music, dancing and hijinx abound, as we get a look at a beloved group of friends as they discover their own what’s special within each of them, find their own inner strength, and the value of friendship.

While it is indeed a children’s production and geared towards younger audiences, some notable acting in the show may foreshadow great things to come for some of the young players: although, with a revolving cast over the show’s two weekends, it’s a bit hard to single out the particularly striking performances (though the “Rabbit” and “Eeyore” in the Sunday matinee this reviewer witnessed were excellent.) The original songs penned by Tim Nelson stand out as well, with catchy tunes such as “Just A Donkey” and “Fiddle With the Middle of a Riddle” likely to echo in your head for the rest of the day.

The Rose Center is renowned for its quality productions, and the Rose Kids program seems a great way to instill a love of theater in those youngest family members, and to inspire a new generation of young actors: contributing to creativity, self-confidence and personal development.

The Rose Kids were formed four years ago, when we had a large request to produce theater for youth, performed by youth” says Nelson. “We began with ‘Annie Jr’, then put on another original, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ a year later… last year, “Once On This Island Jr” and this year the original [production] ‘Winnie The Pooh!’

“It has been great bringing this type of theater to this particular audience and giving a lot of young kids their first exposure to live theater… ‘Winnie the Pooh‘ has had a lot of first time theater goers [who] seem to really leave with a great experience – ready for the next.”

A cute original musical, just in time for the holidays and perfect for younger audiences, “The Wonderful Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Friends” is a treat for all the little ones in your life.

The Wonderful Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Friends,” a rotating cast of talented young actors portray the adventures (and misadventures) of Winnie the Pooh and his playful companions. It concluded on Nov. 12 at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster.

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