This afternoon I took the train to Beenleigh to see my friend's directorial debut as a musical director. The Beenleigh Theatre Group is performing a musical version of E.B. White's beloved children's book, Charlotte's Web.
Joining Charlotte and a sweet-voiced Wilbur are the selfish Templeton the rat, the goose and gander (with charming repeat-repeat-repeat lines), and a ewe and her lamb. Fern Arable is believable as the girl who saves the runt of the litter, and her interactions with her family and the animals in the barn are delightful. The song she sings to her mother ("Mama, You Don't Understand Me") echoes what many of us felt at 13.
Songs of summer, the Zuckerman barn, and spinning a web move the action and create a unique experience, even for those who are familiar with the story. Charlotte is particularly notable as she sings and dances in a cleverly designed costume. The duet between Charlotte and Wilbur ("Who Says We Can't Be Friends?") is lovely.
The show is suitable for young children, and there is an interval between acts. Autographs are available from cast members following the Sunday matinee. Programs are $4. Family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) are available for $54. See Beenleigh Theatre Group's website for more details, and to book.
Shows run Saturdays at 2pm and 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2pm, until July 9th.