Based on the popular children’s book of the same name, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day gets transformed into a boisterous musical production by The Pumpkin Theatre.
When you’re eight years old, gum in your hair, where you sit in the car, fickle friends, scolding teachers, dental drills and shoe shopping are equivalent to a 40-year-old's bald spots, traffic jams, social rankings, bosses’ tempers, and credit issues. Fear of dental drills seems to cross all age boundaries. This may be why the parents enjoyed the mishaps and misfortunes of our hero as much as their children.
Isaac Lunt’s Alexander manages to survive what is possibly the worst day of his young life with the right amount of entertaining exasperation and a refreshing lack of whininess. Though in high school, Lunt captures the energy and frustration of a younger boy with charming effect. He’s backed up by an exuberant ensemble of actors who portray the pesky siblings, unpredictable school friends and slightly loopy adults that make up Alexander’s world.
Both adults and kids found Alexander’s reluctant visit to the dentist especially amusing. And for those audience members of a certain age, the shoe store sequence may bring to mind going to Hess Shoes where shoe shopping was something of an extravaganza.
Much is made of the short attention spans of the digital generation, but the Pumpkin Theatre knows how to keep their young audience in their seats. In the age of Youtube sensations, it’s heartening to see children excited by live theater and performers who are not plastered all over the internet or TV. One little girl skipped out of the theater waving the program with glee when her mother informed her that the actors would autograph it. Eat your heart out, Justin Bieber.
Alexander’s next days of torture will occur March 3 and 4 with showings at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at St. Timothy's School,8400 Greenspring Avenue. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. You can call the box office at 410-828-1814 or visit the website at www.pumpkintheatre.com.