Twinderella at Elden Street Players

Elden Street Players Theatre for Young Audiences presents Twinderella, a modern adaptation of the beloved fairy tale, Cinderella, directed by Jolie Kelly.

When the audience takes their seats they see a set that resembles a cluttered attic on top of the set of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is currently playing at Elden Street Players. Colorful doors are pinned along the back wall, and a large variety of furniture pieces litter the stage. The set has multiple levels, from which the characters traipse via ladders, poles, and slides. It is impressive, but a lot of the props go unused, such as stacks of luggage and boxes, and overwhelm the atmosphere a bit. Beth Atkins’ sound design helps move the plot along, and her lighting design is elegant and beautiful as the stage brightens during key plot moments. Costume Designer Kathy Dunlap uses a broad field of apparel —from casual-wear to evening gowns. My favorite costumes were those of the evil Stepmother and Stepsisters, who were clad in bold, garish prints, with feather boas and accessories to match.

Two narrators, played by Christina Talhame and Kirsten Burt, drive the story. Talhame sticks to the classic version of Cinderella, while Burt, who arrives a bit later, pipes in with a version that includes ‘Bob,’ a boy who, like Cinderella, lives with an evil stepfamily. While Cinderella, played by Sarah Smith, tidies the house for her cruel stepmother (Janet Smith) and stepsisters (Cecily Israel and Laura Moody), Bob, played by Joe Flynn, endures orders and insults from his own evil stepfather (Jim Johnson) and stepbrothers (Peter Waldmiller and Trevor Johnston). Modern jokes make the play more relatable, like when Cinderella’s Stepmother tells her to “go outside and rotate the tires on the Suburban.” The narrators constantly interrupt the story by either telling the actors what to do (“You should probably be crying now”) or arguing over the classic plotline.

When Princess Petunia (Amanda Holsinger), and Prince Perry (Stuart Orloff), have a joint birthday celebration that is part ball, part ballgame – it is time for the Fairy Godparents of Cinderella and Bob to work their magic. Melissa Gervasio is upbeat as Cinderella’s eccentric Fairy Godmother, and Ronnie Spata delivers a standout performance as Bob’s pinstriped, jersey-accented ‘Godfather.’ Following a spirited party, Cinderella and Bob have to leave in a hurry before midnight – leaving behind a glass slipper…and a muddy cleat. The prince and princess begin a kingdom-wide search for their mysterious soul mates, who, in turn, both decide to escape their stepfamily’s homes for a chance to try on the shoes. While searching for the castle, they finally meet each other in the forest. What is the strange connection between Cinderella and Bob? And will they make it back to their newfound loves? Come see this magical show and see what happens!

For a show that only runs a mere sixty-minutes, Twinderella is packed with a large number of characters, ranging from young to old, audience interaction, amusing choreography, and a fun plot. The children in the audience all seemed to really enjoy themselves, and scrambled onstage after the show to get autographs from the friendly cast. Catching a showing of Twinderella would be a great outing for a family with small children.

Running time: 60 minutes.

Twinderella plays through November 13, 2011, at Elden Street Players at The Industrial Strength Theatre – 269 Sunset Park Drive, in Herndon, VA.  For tickets, call (703) 481-5930, or order them online.