By John Lyle Belden and Wendy Carson
Most of us have spent at least part of our childhood in the Hundred Acre Wood, or even in an acre of our own with some dear plush pals. Return to that wonder-filled place at “The House at Pooh Corner,” presented by Improbable Fiction Theatre Company at the Ivy Tech auditorium in Noblesville.
In pajama-esque costume, Winnie-the-Pooh and friends from A.A. Milne’s books come to life, adapted by Bettye Knapp, directed for IFTC by Dana Lesh.
Today’s adventure starts with an Emergency Meeting, with much to address. Eeyore is tired of standing out in a field at 3 a.m. and wants a house. A mysterious and frightening new creature has appeared, wreaking havoc on Pooh’s chair and Owl’s home. Who or what is the mysterious “Backson”? Most concerning, though, is that Christopher Robin’s parents are intent on sending the boy away to “Education.”
This calls for action – perhaps an excursion to the South Pole, as the North Pole has crocodiles.
In this production, what would have been just a charming experience for young audiences has been made truly exceptional by near-perfect casting:
- Daniel Shock has not only the constantly contemplative look but also the familiar classic voice of Pooh Bear down solid.
- Diann Ryan masters Piglet’s mix of energetic, neurotic, and eager-to-please.
- Scott Prill exudes all the gentlemanly gravitas of Owl.
- Jennifer Poynter is endearingly maternal and germaphobic as Kanga, dealing with Sean Wood as hyper and eager-for-fun Roo.
- Barb Weaver has the take-charge attitude of Rabbit, who also watches over bunny relatives Early (Evelyn BeDell) and Late (Paxton Shock).
- Geoff Lynch embodies the blustering braggart force of nature that is Tigger, complete with animated giggle.
- Ryan Shelton brays as discontented, depressed Eeyore so well, it’s a wonder he isn’t on the others’ nerves.
- Gabrielle Morrison seems to have stepped off the page as Christopher Robin. The voice of his father (one of “them”) is provided by Jeff Bick.
The commitment by the actors to their plush alter-egos helps immerse us in the whimsy of their world, making this a nice experience for theatre-goers of any age. As an added treat, the cast comes out to greet and take pictures with fans at the front of the stage after each performance.
Visit “The House on Pooh Corner” April 22-24 – 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday – at Ivy Tech, 300 N. 17th St., Noblesville. Find information and tickets at iftheatrecompany.org.