Theatre Review: ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker. Best. Shoes. Ever.’ at Pumpkin Theatre

Anthony Scimonelli as Harold, Josephine Patane as Ed and Erin Confair as Maude. Photo provided by Pumpkin Theatre.

Anthony Scimonelli as Harold, Josephine Patane as Ed and Erin Confair as Maude.
Photo provided by Pumpkin Theatre.

Pumpkin Theatre’s 46th season kicks off with The Elves and the Shoemaker. Best. Shoes. Ever., an original production written by Producing Artistic Director Jimi Kinstle.  Another first for the Pumpkin Theatre is their new home at Har Sinai Congregation, off Greenspring Road in Baltimore County.  A large room with a raised stage, perfect acoustics and lots of chairs all comes together for a seamless spot for children’s theater.

The Elves and the Shoemaker. Best. Shoes. Ever. opens to Lady Everkind (a cheery Laura Weiss) introducing a poor shoe cobbler, Harold (an earnest Anthony Scimonelli), and his wife, Maude (always fantastic Erin Confair).  The pair are worried about where their next meal will come from and whether they can sell enough shoes to pay their landlord, the mean Mayor Killjoy (a deliciously over-the-top Courtney Proctor).  If they can’t, she will turn their home into a fast food restaurant with the world’s first fly-through window.

…when the elves were on stage, the audience’s faces got a little brighter and their smiles got a lot bigger!

Harold has just finished making his last pair of shoes, having no money left for more supplies, when Lady Everkind visits the shop.  She needs a new pair of shoes because her shoes are warn out from her many trips to and from the orphanage to feed the poor children.  Harold’s last pair of shoes just happen to fit Lady Everkind, and Harold and Maude give the shoes to her for free.  They would never ask Lady Everkind for money, knowing all the good she does for their town.  Little do the cobbler and his wife know that Lady Everkind has some magic summoning powers in her little beaded bag. Because of their kindness, she leaves treats for magical elves, whose favorite thing to do is make shoes, so that they will visit the cobbler and his wife as they sleep to make the Best. Shoes. Ever.

Each morning, the cobbler and his wife awake to find a beautiful pair of shoes that just so happen to be needed that day as certain townspeople (Sarah Winchell as Doris and Amanda Fossett as Matilda) visit with their own shoe emergencies.  The days and nights pass, and as more and more townspeople come to get their specially made shoes, the cobbler and his wife start to realize that Harold was not “sleep cobbling.”  Their modest shop, with their bedroom in the back, was producing magic along with the beautiful shoes.

The Elves in the Shoemaker's shop. Photo provided by Pumpkin Theatre.

The Elves in the Shoemaker’s shop.
Photo provided by Pumpkin Theatre.

Ed (Josephine Patane) is the leader of the elves and shimmies down the fireplace each night to introduce his brothers: Arny (an adorable Holly Gibbs), Barney (the always enchanting Derek Cooper), Carney (a captivating Alec Weinberg) and Darney (the young and gifted Clare Peyton).  Only with the audience’s encouragement do the other elves come out of hiding to do their little dance and sing their song.  They also sing while they select the kind of shoes they will make that night, and they continue to sing when they are working together to make the Best. Shoes. Ever.  This is the only thing I wish there was more of; when the elves were on stage, the audience’s faces got a little brighter and their smiles got a lot bigger!

With a little posing like a statue from Maude and her long night of spying, the cobbler and his wife finally see who the mystery cobblers are. But will these kind-hearted elves make shoes good enough to appease the hard-hearted Mayor Killjoy?  To find out, put on your fanciest shoes, grab your parents, head on over to the new Pumpkin Theatre and enjoy the show!

Running Time:  Approximately one hour.

The Elves and the Shoemaker. Best. Shoes. Ever. is playing through October 6, 2013 at Pumpkin Theatre, Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills, Maryland 2905 Walnut Avenue Owings Mills, Maryland 21117.  For tickets call 410-902-1814 or click here.

About April Forrer

April Forrer has been a Maryland resident for over 15 years, having moved from Washington, DC after graduate school at the George Washington University. She began her writing career on Capitol Hill as a speech and legislation writer for two U.S. Representatives. She then started working with non-profits to enhance their media and development outreach. She now spends her professional time writing her first novel and designing and constructing costumes for theatrical productions. She savors her time spent with her three children, her dog and her husband.