Pictured: Aurelia Power, Gary Neal Johnson, and Tyler Rowe. Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of Coterie Theatre.
By Bec Pennington
For an entertaining evening out in Kansas City, the Coterie offers a chance to bring the little ones along to TUCK EVERLASTING, a faithful rendition of the award-winning novel, running through April 5th.
TUCK EVERLASTING is a refreshingly family-friendly approach to the heavy subject of humanity’s mortality, and the important place that death has in our lives. We follow 11-year-old Winnie as she encounters and befriends an odd family who seems to never age. As the little girl discovers the possibilities and pitfalls of avoiding growing old, she begins to see what that can mean in the hands of different people, and how important it is to keep the Tucks’ secret. But it also means Winnie herself has a choice concerning her own future.
The Coterie, nestled inside the south end of Crown Center, is a remarkably well-equipped space for intimate performances. Sound and lighting are delightfully sophisticated and it’s obvious that the production side is approached with an interest in quality. Jordan Janota’s set is exceptionally well designed, with lots of moving parts and yet a deliberate simplicity to the overall appearance that makes it feel like one has stepped into an illustrated book.
The story allows children to consider difficult concepts of human nature within a lighthearted and gentle fantasy, and the show, while perhaps a little rushed in pacing, is perfect in length for just about any possible viewer. Attendees should note that some of the performance takes place in the aisles, though the players do not break the fourth wall by interacting directly with audience members. Younger ones probably won’t notice what this reviewer considers a slight clumsiness to the script, as the cast is enthusiastic in their delivery. Gary Neal Johnson and Nancy Marcy especially are warm and endearing in their roles as Angus and May Tuck.
While not without flaws, TUCK EVERLASTING is definitely an option for charming family fun, and worth the affordable cost of admission.
TUCK EVERLASTING runs through April 5th. For more information visit thecoterie.org.