By Abbie Gallagher
If you could live forever, would you? Or should you? When you're immortal, what do you really have to live for?
MUSE has chosen the 2013 musical Tuck Everlasting as their major production this year. It's always intriguing to check out a relatively recent musical. And given how beloved this story is, it's shocking that it's taken so long to adapt to musical form.
Based on Natalie Babbitt's 1975 novel, considered a modern children's classic, Tuck Everlasting tells the story of 11 year old Winnie Foster, who stumbles upon the ageless Tuck family. Many years before, the Tucks unwittingly drank from a spring which grants immortality. As they fight to keep the existence of the spring a secret, Winnie finds herself longing for the same eternal life. But is that kind of life really worth it?
MUSE has assembled a large, talented cast with an impressive young Talia Allen taking the lead of Winnie. The Tuck family have a wonderful dynamic, with Jesse (Jared Palleson) matching Winnie in energy, Miles (Jayden Castle) garnering empathy, Angus (the charming Aidan Kane) and Mae (a standout Phoebe Clark, with her delightful warmth and crystal clear voice) all creating a fun, genuine family rapport. Jordan Barnes and Christopher Shanko are audience favourites as Constable Joe and Hugo while Samuel Wilson gives an enjoyably over-the-top performance as the Man in Yellow Suit. With his sly smile and top hat, all he's missing is a sign saying “Did I Mention I'm the Antagonist?”
Tuck Everlasting has a pretty score, but I'd be lying if I said it was the most memorable musical soundtrack in existence. No, the focus here, as it should be, is on the relationships between the characters. With a surprisingly and pleasantly funny book, Tuck Everlasting will have you laughing one moment and then follow up with thought-provoking questions. Though some opening night microphone troubles meant a few crucial plot points weren't heard, unfortunately. But overall, you can follow what's going on without too much trouble. A simple set responds very well to clever lighting and doesn't distract from the action onstage.
But the absolute best aspect of this whole production, the entire reason it's worth the ticket, is the absolutely magical choreography by director Matt Hourigan. A beautiful array of ballet/lyrical dances are peppered throughout the show and performed by a truly brilliant ensemble. Every time they appeared on stage was cause for excitement. Couple this with the gorgeous costumes and you have something breathtaking. The choreography rivals that of a professional show. It's an absolute joy to watch.
Tuck Everlasting has deep themes, memorable characters, stunning dancers and some truly moving scenes. It's a fun night out at the theatre, and you're guaranteed to come away feeling like you've added a little magic to your life.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.