Charlotte’s Web Review

Hannah Rudnicki is a third year dance major at Oakfields College studying Musical Theatre and Dance. She went to watch Charlotte’s Web at the NCT – read what she had to say about it here!

The musical Charlotte’s Web, adapted from E B White’s book by Joseph Robinette with music & lyrics by Charles Strouse, is currently on at the National Children’s Theatre. This story takes place on a farm, and is about a pig named Wilbur, played by Gmehhle Bovana, and his special friend Charlotte the spider, played by Lara Kleynhans. The production is directed by Coba-Maryn Wilsenach, and choreographed by Phillida Le Roux-Liebenberg.

The show tells the story of Fern, a devastated eight-year-old girl, who finds out her father wants to kill the “runt” of his new pig litter. This runt is then named Wilbur to soften the father’s decision of wanting to kill him. Charlotte decides to help Wilbur, as she has taken a shine to him and desperately does not want him to die. The rest of the farm animals join in the effort to save Wilbur.

Particular stand out performances were by Lara Kleynhans as she dances around the stage with elegance and grace in her pointe shoes, giving a unique beauty to the movement of a spider. Ronatan Botha as Templeton the rat gives an extremely amazing portrayal, with movements so well done that as an audience member you felt uncomfortable watching him in the best way possible. Last but not least, Zoleka Monare as the Goose and also as an ensemble member was exceptionally eye catching with her transformation from one role to another. She was able to change character with ease and portray different people on stage effectively and without overt textual references.

I feel that it is extremely important to go and see children’s theatre, as the standard is high and it allows for a completely different perspective on performance. It also shows one how difficult it is to perform for children, the need to engage with them and to keep their attention on the production throughout the show’s run time. These performers truly captivated the audience and the children watching were extremely engaged, participating and loving every moment of the performance. Children’s theatre really helps children to connect to their creative and artistic side. I feel more children should be going to watch productions like this to enjoy themselves, as well as to learn something from them.

Don’t miss this “Terrific” show, on at the National Children’s Theatre from 18 June- 17 July 2019.

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