He is not as clever as Curious George, he is not besotted by honey like Winnie-the-Pooh, but like them both he is one of English children’s literature’s beloved characters. He is, of course, Peter Rabbit, wearing his famous blue housecoat. And he is on stage at the Arts Bank Theater thru January 3, 2016. , where the Enchantment Theatre Company website , in collaboration with Frederick Warne & Co. and Penguin Books UK, is performing the authorized theatrical version of Peter Rabbit Tales.
‘Tis the season to get acquainted with a now grown-up Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny, as they escape from incensed Mr. McGregor, outfox the fox Mr. Tod and rescue the Flopsy Bunnies from conniving badger, Tommy Brock. When Benjamin’s children are bunny-napped by the devious (and very hungry!) Tommy Brock, Benjamin pleads with his cousin Peter to help him save the bunnies from becoming Tommy Brock’s gourmet dinner.
But, at first, Peter thinks he has had quite enough of danger and adventure, remembering his (and his blue coat’s) near escapes from Mr. McGregor’s irresistible vegetable garden. Then the two cousins relive their past exploits, and, with encouragement from their friends and neighbors–Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-duck and Mrs. Tittlemouse, Peter is emboldened to venture on one more quest. Peter discovers he still has some hero in him—call it a little of Odysseus’s cunning, a little of Don Quixote’s chutzpah, and so, of course, he does go to the rescue.
This Enchantment Theatre production is in celebration of Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday. It uses a story-within-a-story approach and combines several of her stories with excellent and entertaining results. Intricately crafted masks, puppets, and scenery, all lovingly evocative of the original book illustrations, along with original music, combine to stimulate and satisfy the imaginations of children and adults alike.
Amidst the dubious proliferation of classic children’s literature made into formulaic movies and TV series, the Enchantment Theatre’s more literary, and intimate, personally crafted form of storytelling is a worthy companion to the original storybooks. This theatrical imagining and telling, with its love of and emphasis on Beatrix Potter’s words, is sure to entice children and adults to read, or to go back and re-read, the original storybooks. And, who knows, maybe to even act them out together.
Visit the Enchantment Theatre Company website for information about tickets and performance times.