James and the Giant Peach is Just Peachy


Photo by: Laura Garden James and his newfound companions find themselves stuck on the giant peach.

Kelly Chang, Staff Writer

As children’s writers go, Roald Dahl is arguably one of the best. His books are fun, quirky, and unique; James and the Giant Peach is no exception.

After the initial release of the book in 1961, James and the Giant Peach was transformed into an exciting and eccentric musical in 2010. Just recently, the rights for the play were released, allowing local theater groups to perform the musical; this year, the Adams Theatre takes on the challenge of performing the whimsical story of James and the Giant Peach.

The final performances will be March 24 and March 25 at 7:30 pm in the Adams auditorium. Tickets can be purchased on showtix4u.com or at the door before the show, $10 for students and $12 for adults.

“Right before your Eyes,” the story of James comes alive through Adams Theatre students. The musical follows James Henry Trotter (senior Kyle Mason), an orphan, whose parents died from a rhinoceros attack. As a result, James moves in with his quirky and cruel aunts, Spiker (senior Maria Garcia Renya) and Sponge (senior Abby Richburg).

Before James can properly settle into his new home, a gloomy hill by the White Cliffs of Dover, Spiker and Sponge put him to work. Their first request is to chop down the old peach tree, which is crawling with a variety of bugs. James, unable to defy the aunts’ request, picks up an axe and gets ready to swing.

Before the tree gets chopped down, however, James finds himself in an encounter with a mysterious stranger, Ladalord (junior Miles Houser)– who doubles as the narrator of the musical. The peculiar man offers James a potion of crocodile tongues. Unfortunately, before James can drink it, the potion spills and James finds himself once again with nothing, or so he thinks.

Soon, James discovers an enormous peach growing on the branches of the old peach tree,  located close to James’ disastrous spill. Not only does a giant peach stem from the spillage, but a group of five human-sized insects come along with it. Wanting to escape the cruelty of Spiker and Sponge, Centipede (sophomore Carson Weed) cuts the stem of the peach, causing it to roll into the English Channel.

Along with Centipede, James is accompanied by his newfound friends: Spider (senior Sarah Brady), Earthworm (sophomore Ian Gooderham), Ladybug (senior Emma Pillsbury), and Grasshopper (senior Adam Garfinkle). The crew finds themselves in an unfamiliar situation with the most unlikely of companions, but for James, it just might lead to something more.

Once again the theatre department does a phenomenal job of bringing the characters to life. The enthusiasm and commitment from the actors are absolutely amazing. Each time they step foot onstage, it lights up and brings a smile to every face in the audience.

A few performances in particular stood out, specifically Renya’s and Richburg’s portrayal of Spiker and Sponge. The audience found themselves laughing as they watched the banter between the sniveling sisters. The pair was ridiculous and absurd, delivering the most comical dialogue about James. When the sisters receive a letter from the police about James, Spiker says, “We are the only living relatives to an orphan, a child-thingy named…James.“ The two look at each other and cry out in unison, “Ewwwww!!!”

One of the best musical scenes was Pillsbury and Garfinkle’s duet as Ladybug and Grasshopper in “Everywhere That You Are.” Beautifully rendered, Pillsbury and Garfinkle were able to push their emotions through the song and truly touch the hearts of the audience.

In addition, the tech crew’s use of special effects created a unique and entertaining experience to all. Tech created an interactive experience by incorporating projected clips to show the movement of the peach during James’ adventure. Smoke machines and flashing lights were also put to use to illustrate mysterious settings and create a slow motion effect.

The rest of the cast also delivered amazing performances, truly adding to the glorious musical. James and the Giant Peach is definitely well worth the watch. Tickets are selling out quickly, so be sure to snag one before it is too late.