Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Olympia Family Theatre presents The House at Pooh Corner

Brian Hatcher as Eeyore and Christian Doyle as Tigger

from left: Christian Doyle, Chris Cantrell as Pooh, and Brian Hatcher. Photos by Dinea DePhoto.
How can you possibly go wrong with a cadre of the top actors in Olympia directed by Pug Bujeaud playing Winnie the Pooh and friends? That information followed by a list of actors should be all the review required to get families flocking to the theater.

They have the great Chris Cantrell playing the likeable Pooh and Brian Hatcher playing Eeyore; the incredibly energetic and funny Christian Doyle playing Tigger, and the loveable and versatile Kate Arvin playing Early, with Korja Giles as Early’s alter ego sister, Late. With Christine Goode as Kanga, Jacqui Martin as the can’t-quit-hopping Roo, Kate Ayers as Piglet, Scott Douglas as Owl, Xander Layden as Rabbit, and Cheyenne Logan as Christopher Robin, there shouldn’t be an empty seat in the house.

Logan is a student at The Evergreen State College who’s first venture into fringe theater was Theater Artists Olympia’s Reservoir Dogs (also directed by Bujeaud). As stated in the program, she is “grateful for the opportunity to embrace her inner child and play a little boy on stage after having been called a little boy for years since cutting her hair short.” She looks the part and plays it with joyful flair.

The entire cast is great, but those who really, really, really stand out are Cantrell, Hatcher, Arvin and Doyle. Cantrell is a honey of a bear; Hatcher is entertainingly dour and pessimistic and makes you want to hug him; Arvin’s expressions are adorable; Doyle is irrepressible and lights up the stage with his high-energy antics (watching him eat acorns is worth the cost of tickets).

If you’ve read any of the Winnie the Pooh books, you’ll recognize and love many of these creatures. If not, let this be your introduction to the Hundred Acre Wood and all the animals who live there. It’s a great play for all ages.

Props to Steve Bylsma for the wonderful set and to Michelle Page for darling costumes.

WHERE: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts Black Box theater, 12 Washington St. SE, Olympia
WHEN: Thur., Fri. at 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1 p.m., through Feb. 23, additional matinee Feb. 22 at 1 p.m.
TICKETS: $10 children under 12, $13 students, seniors, military, pay what you can Feb. 13, online at www.olytix.org or at the Washington Center box office 360-753-8586
INFO: http://olyft.org/

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