Peoria Players Theatre
November 13-15 & 18-22
By Erika Evans
A fairytale is supposed to be light and fun, and Cinderella at Peoria Players Theatre was no exception. The exciting atmosphere started with the audience. While this is a show where children are welcome to dress up as the soon-to-be princess, Peoria Players helped by selling magical wands that could be waved to help the Fairy Godmother work some magic.
She is the first one you see, the Fairy Godmother. Clothed in a beautiful silver gown and wand in hand she will make you believe that her powers are real instantly. Quickly she transports you into a world of longing and dreams bigger than anyone hopes to imagine. The stage is quickly transformed into a busy village square where all sorts of people mill about, and of course, one in particular catches your eye right away. Later in the show the real skill of the technical crew is shown. A royal castle is supposed to be grand, but Peoria Players really impresses with the lengths they went to to enhance one of the most important parts of the musical, the royal ball!
Cinderella (Mary Rose Williams) gave a wonderful performance, a gentle and kind soul with a gorgeous voice. Her true love, Prince (Tyler Smith) was bold and dashing in character and performance but a little timid in his vocals. Lionel (Colin Evers) was an excellent counterpart to the prince, showing the humorous and more obvious reactions that most people would have to the situations he encounters. Fairy Godmother (Anita Rowden) commands the stage, all eyes were definitely mesmerized by her. Stepmother (Lisa Burnett) was evil and downright repulsive, showing that she did her job very nicely! Grace (Katy Hawley Ailshie) and Joy (Susan Hazzard) the evil stepsisters, were a fantastic comedic team. Playing off each other with annoying voices, actions, and reactions, they were extremely pleasant to watch. Queen Constantine (Julie Simmons) looked and acted exactly how one pictures a royal mother, showered in sparkles and fabulous clothes as well as an attitude that shows who is really in charge around here. King Maximillian (Bill Barr) adores his wife and is very easy going, but not when it comes to certain obligations. There were many others in the cast, ball dancers, villagers, shoe girls, all of whom did an excellent job.
Overall it was a great show for the whole family! With humor and wonderful life lessons, plus the chance to dress up, I highly recommend this show. Cinderella continues at Peoria Players Theatre November 13-15th and 18-22nd at 7:30pm (the 15th and 22nd will be 2:00pm matinees). Tickets are $19 for adults and $12 dollars for all who are 20 or younger. For more information contact the box office at 309-688-4473 or visit www.PeoriaPlayers.org
Posted on November 16, 2015
| The Drunken City
Illinois Central College Theatre Program
November 13-15 & 17-22
By Joanna Guevara
As you enter the quaint studio theatre of the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center for the production of The Drunken City, you feel as if you are walking onto the set of your favorite show set in any city downtown. You are see skyscrapers and pathways. Signs are lit up all around, while a streetlamp stands off to the side, casting a beautiful evening glow. City lights dance around the set, creating a beautiful aesthetic to welcome the audience into the world of Adam Bock's The Drunken City.
The audience seemed excited for the show. Family and friends filled the room with laughter and discussion about the entertainment to come. As couples perused the program, and college friends shared stories of cast members, three girls walk in joking and arguing about their new engagements. The lights fade on the audience and highlight these women. The Drunken City story has begun.
The story starts out about three friends, Melissa, Marnie, and Linda, all of whom have just gotten engaged. The girls go into the city to celebrate Marnie's bachelorette party, and meet two guys, Eddie and Frank. In a rush of drunken decisions, Marnie and Frank leave the group together, causing Melissa and Linda to call their friend Bob to come help them find the new couple. The audience follows the long night of discovery that each character makes about love, relationships and where they fit in those worlds.
The show, while definitely made for an adult audience, was quick witted and emotionally stirring. I was impressed with the strength and cohesiveness of the cast. Small shows can be hard to put together, either with someone outshining the rest or one actor being the weakest within the group. The cast of The Drunken City did not suffer from any of these issues. Each character was genuine and the relationships between them seemed so real, the audience almost felt as if they were seeing a group of friends in real life, rather than watching a play. Melissa (Hannah Bruce) shared her broken heart. Marnie (Hannah Gidcumb) showed us what it means to love yourself. Linda (Gillian Strachan) sang a haunting tune of fear. Eddie (Nathan Apodaca) portrayed the difficulty in letting in love, while Frank (Frank Drew) showed what it was to fall in love too quickly and Bob (Alek President) signified loving to hard. Director Robin Berkley did well finding a cast that was able to portray true friendship and reflect the difficulties that come with discovering what love really means.
Not only was the acting spectacular, but the production value of this show was superb. Scenic designer Robert Fulton did well creating a space that gave off the feeling of a city, but allowed the audience to use their imaginations to create the best city for the show to speak to them. The lighting accentuated the beautiful set, and added a dimension of emotion that only aided the audience in their feelings towards the production. Even the preshow music helped set the mood and made me feel as if I was going to jump into the car and hit the town with my best friends.
The Drunken City is playing at Illinois Central College in East Peoria November 13-22, with shows Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm, a Sunday matinee at 2:30pm and no performance on Monday, November 16. The show is rated R for language and mature themes. Tickets are $7 for the general public, and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ArtsAtICC.com or by calling the box office at (309) 694-5136. Seating is limited, so purchase your tickets in advance! Don't miss out on this fun and touching story of the changes in life with love and relationships. And remember, don't go into the city.
Posted on November 16, 2015