Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: SRT's Charlotte's Web

Charlotte’s Web by EB White was one of my favorite books when I was growing up and Dumpling and I have watched the cartoon and the movie many times over, yet never gotten bored of it. You can imagine our joy when we were invited to review this play by Singapore Repertory Theatre.

:: The story

This story is a simple yet beautiful tale of friendship between a runt pig, Wilbur, and a barn spider, Charlotte. Wilbur was being fattened up (bacon anyone?) by the Zuckermans who owns a farm and Charlotte, taking pity on the runt, decided to help. And that was marks the start of a beautiful friendship…

:: The play

A familiar face, Ann Lek, previously played one of the pigs in SRT’s Three Little Pigs. In this production, she plays Wilbur. Wilbur was originally born on a farmhouse and lived with the Arables where Fern (played by Ethel Yap), their daughter, looked after it. As Wilbur grew bigger, the Arables found themselves unable to tend to it and gave Wilbur to the Zuckermans.

One of the things which I have always enjoyed in Singapore Repertory Theatre's (SRT) productions is their creative take on its set. Having caught previous productions such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Rapunzel, Three Little Pigs etc., the company has once again shown its creativity in the design of its props and the great usage of space.

The Farmhouse used by the Arables was easily transformed to Zuckerman’s farm and later, to a section in the Fair where Wilbur was at, with just some shifting of the props and the clever use of banners, lights, etc.

True to its story, Wilbur befriended other animals in the farm ~ a rat (Templeton), Sheep, some geese, etc. but it was his friendship with Charlotte that makes this story one of the best-selling children's novels (sold an estimated 45 million copies). 

Sharda Harrison who plays Charlotte (A. Cavatica) lives in the barn and with the clever use of ropes and karabiners, the actress played Charlotte well with her sleek and “spidery” movements. (Doesn't the photo below remind you of the classic scene in Spiderman played by Tobey Maguire?)

It was really interesting to see how she moved from one part of the barn to the next (she must have great abs)! And of course Charlotte used her superb web weaving skills to spell out the adjectives that soon made Wilbur a celebrity pig. :) 

I am the first to admit that I am sappy when it comes to characters dying and I was worried that the kiddo would be affected. In my opinion, SRT handled this part well, understanding the profile of its young audiences and while sticking to the story, it did not over dramatize Charlotte’s death. Instead, it highlighted Charlotte’s Opus Magnum (masterpiece), her egg sac which had all 514 eggs. Wilbur vowed to look after these eggs and stuck through to his words (like a true friend) and watched over them religiously till they hatched.     

Here's a video snippet of the play :) 

A heartwarming take on the story, SRT's interpretation is both entertaining and touching as it brings us on a journey to celebrate the tale of friendship and love between Wilbur and Charlotte. That, in my opinion, is the Magnum Opus of this famous story by EB White. 

Charlotte's Web runs till 11 December (details below).  

Event Dates
Fri, 28 Oct - Sun, 11 Dec 2016
Weekends & Public Holiday : 11am & 2pm
Weekdays : 10am
28 Oct 2016 (Fri) : 3pm

KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT (Previously known as DBS Arts Centre) 
To buy your tickets at SISTIC, please click here 

Disclaimer: We were invited by Singapore Repertory Theatre to watch the play so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours. Images are courtesy of Singapore Repertory Theatre. 

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