As much as I may have gone into James and the Giant Peach with low expectations for a high school play, I was blown away by the performances given by the actors. Even though the cast of the play were just high school students, some freshmen, they still did an amazing job at portraying their characters. James and the Giant Peach is an adaptation of the novel of the same name, and it debuted in Broadway tryouts in 2010.
Performed at the Mary Ann Klett Performing Arts Center at Georgetown High School on January thirtieth and thirty-first, as well as February first and second, the GHS theatre department performed James and the Giant Peach for their musical. Starring sophomore Connor Denton and freshmen Aidan Lindsey as Ladahlord and James respectively, James and the Giant Peach had excellent acting from young actors. Denton stole the audience’s hearts with his charismatic performance as the narrator of the story. Additionally, Lindsey as James Trotter, the main character of the play, created an interesting portrayal of a young orphan who is adopted by his only remaining family, Aunts Spiker and Sponge, played by junior Isabella Shogi and sophomore Lauren Navarro respectively, after his parents are killed by a rampaging rhinocereous. Shogi and Navarro had great chemistry together as a pair of atrocious aunts. Even though all of these actors performed their roles quite well, their efforts were in vain, as the jokes that they were pouring their hearts into just didn’t land very well.
Another standout from the show were sophomore Berkely Landreth, who played Ladybug, and junior Charles Price, who played Centipede, also had great chemistry with their contrasting characters. While Centipede was a very grumpy and sarcastic character, Ladybug was a very kind character, and Price and Landreth both played off their characters conflicting personalities. On the other hand, ensemble cast members like freshmen Emma Hoover who played a multitude of minor roles in the play also helped to create an excellent illusion of the wacky world of James and the Giant Peach.
Additionally, the performances given by “Featured Dancer” junior Georgette Hannah Pargmann added an interesting visual flair that helped to highlight the creative directing that went into James and the Giant Peach. She performed in a multitude of ensemble roles, and helped to guide the dances the other ensemble actors executed. This goes along with the general feeling of the play; really good delivery on the parts of the actors of the play, but the acting is let down by the nature of the play.
This is the issue with some novels that are adapted into plays, for sometimes, an adaptation is just not meant to be. Even though there are many attempts at humor throughout the play, they all seem to fall flat. However, that may just be because of the play’s target audience, which seemed to be children, so it may be an excellent play for those that are that age. On the other hand, other children’s plays that I have seen have gotten a few chuckles out of me, while James and the Giant Peach didn’t even get a peep.