Bay Theatre Company’s Rumple Who?
Will Bartlett’s light musical adaptation of Rumplestiltskin has run continuously off-Broadway since 1985 with good reason. With its cantankerous characters and timeless moral, Rumple Who? makes an entertaining way for parents and grandparents to share love of theater with their children.
The familiar story is distilled, updated and less Grimm than the original with musical summaries for each plot development. In this version, Rumpelstiltskin is a kinder and gentler prankster who weaves his way into the lives of the Miller’s daughter and the royal family and uncovers some family dynamics that need attention, some values that need to be adjusted and some dreams that need to be fulfilled.
Live piano accompaniment is a very nice treat, with music preshow and in the background very well done by William Kelley.
In Bartlett’s update, the Miller’s Daughter (Brett Warner Hurt) is the braggart. In this production, she’s the most valuable player. Warner Hurt is a Julie Andrews in singing and action, a Dick Van Dyke in physical comedy.
For love of her, the sappy, silly King Henry (Michael Allen Windsor) grows a backbone. I wished for a little more contrast between his early obedient stage and the end — when he stands up in the best-costumed feet ever — to do the right thing.
His mother, the nasty Queen (TiaJuana Roundtree), overplays her love of gold, at least in contrast to other characters played at a much lower key.
To foil her plan, Rumple Who (Nathan Coone) demands the gold spinner’s first-born. In this interactive theater, he controls the pacing of the show, drawing in the children in the audience. If he has an off day, the performance simply does not spark to life.
Directed by Jim Chance, Rumple Who is a one-hour theatrical diversion worthy to be on your family’s to-do list.
Playing Sundays thru August 19: 11am and 2pm at West Garrett Building, 275 West St., Annapolis. $15 w/age discounts: 410-268-1333; www.baytheatre.org.