Ditch the Disney princesses and all that pink. Fairies, especially night fairies with their dark eyes and shimmering garb of midnight blue, are feistier and more fun. Flory (Tia Shearer, wounded yet strong as the fallen fairy), the heroine of Imagination Stage’s spellbinding The Night Fairy, combines wildness and delicacy in one small, but fierce package that make princesses seem a bit bland in comparison.
Adapted by John Glore from Laura Amy Schlitz’s 2010 storybook, The Night Fairy captures the rough and tumble adventures of little Flory when she loses her blue wings in an altercation with the bat Peregrine (Ryan Sellers, swooping and swirling like a dervish) and spirals down to earth, landing in a backyard garden.
The production, directed by Jeremy Skidmore, also evokes the dreamy, celestial and finely detailed watercolor illustrations by Angela Barrett that make the book such a joy.
Using computer projections to exquisite effect, Skidmore and projections designer Jared Mezzocchi portray Flory’s midair dust-up with the bat, the vivid flight of a Hummingbird (Megan Graves, a plucky survivalist momma bird) and other images that are heightened by Martha Mountain’s lighting designs.
After being plopped in an unfamiliar landscape, Flory tries to be pragmatic. She starts insisting that she is something she’s not—a day fairy—and tries to savor the delights of daylight.
Her first foray into taking care of herself is befriending a squirrel she nicknames Skuggle (Erin Weaver, hilarious as a scampering, easily distracted airhead who gives the play needed comic relief), whose moves and moods are ruled by his always empty stomach—his head doesn’t seem particularly full either. “Don’t know. Don’t care.” is Skuggle’s motto and Flory is willing to take advantage of Skuggle’s easygoing nature to get what she wants—that is, before she learns what being a friend means giving and taking.
She also tries to use the Hummingbird for her own devices, but the Hummingbird winds up teaching her about compassion and empathy. Another life lesson is imparted when Flory is quick to judge a Spider (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, who portrays the creature through elongated, elegant ballet stretches) as an evil predator, before finding out that the Spider has emotions, fears and concerns just like anyone else.
THE NIGHT FAIRY
Closes October 26, 2014
4908 Auburn Avenue
1 hour, 30 minutes with 1 intermission
Saturdays and Sundays
Flory is changed forever by the accident that lands her on earth. Her wings may grow back, yet she will never quite be the ephemeral night fairy floating on evening breezes she once was. Flory’s become far too substantial for that.
Skidmore and adaptor John Glore immerse you in the romantic world of fairyland, playing with perspective and magical elements. However, there are a few hiccups that have to do with timing. The flow of the play is interrupted by an intermission that is not a natural break in the story line and The Night Fairy abruptly ends at its appointed time, even though a satisfactory conclusion to Flory’s adventures has not yet occurred.
Still, lily of the valley-sized Flory and her larger animal companions are captivating enough to give Aurora, Ariel and Cinderella a run for their tiaras.
The Night Fairy Based on the book by Laura Amy Schlitz, adapted by John Glore . Directed by Jeremy Skidmore . Associate Director: Nancy Bannon . Featuring Tia Shearer, Erin Weaver, Megan Graves, Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan and Ryan Sellers . Scenic Designer: Patrick Watkinson . Costume Designer: Erin Nugent . Sound Designer: Christopher Baine . Projections Designer: Jared Mezzocchi . Produced by Imagination Stage . Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.
THE NIGHT FAIRY
Closes Oct 26
Jane Horwitz . Washington Post Enchants but could use a bit more magic
Julia L. Exline . DCMetroTheaterArts If you ever believed in the magic of fairies, then this show will bring you back to that feeling of warm wonder
Lorna Mulvaney . BroadwayWorld not the gentlest of stories
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