Let Winnie the Pooh and his friends sweetly entertain your little ones, while slyly teaching them lessons of friendship and growing up.
Photo by Jay Paul
My exposure to Winnie the Pooh is mostly limited to the Disney movies of my childhood; sweet-but-simple Pooh Bear, being wind-tossed and sent tumbling through the typography of the storybook’s pages, paired with the warm, soft tones of Sterling Holloway’s voice.
Others remember the illustrated books with deep affection. With the first volume of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories being published in 1926, my grandparents probably read these books to my parents, who read them to me, and so on. Regardless of how one experiences them, these stories of a portly little bear and his friends have a permanent place in our collective memories.
The Virginia Rep production of The House at Pooh Corner is an adaptation by Bettye Knapp with direction, musical adaptation, and music by Bruce Miller. It pulls several stories from the original book and features beloved characters Winnie-the-Pooh (Chandler Hubbard), Piglet (Grace Sammons), Tigger (Adam Turck), Eeyore (Evan Nasteff), and more. Adults will recognize the familiar words of “The More It Snows” (tiddly pom), and kids will laugh uproariously at Tigger’s antics as he barrels about the stage and generally creates topsy-turviness wherever he goes.
The part of Christopher Robin is played jointly by brothers, Raif (9) and Killian (12) Winn, who are super bright, talented kids. With parents that are professional musicians (Susanna Klein, violin, and John Winn, saxophone) it’s no surprise that they’d been auditioning for parts in theatrical productions and were approached to share the role when The House at Pooh Corner was in its planning stages.
I asked the boys what lessons small children might get from the show, and in amongst the brothers’ jokes and one-up-man-ships, I learned that they both felt that the play focuses on growing up and how your taste in things changes as you get older, not to mention how playing tricks on others can sometimes backfire.
The Virginia Rep’s Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn is a cozy space, and the set design by Terrie Powers, picks up the drawing style of the book illustrations by E.H. Shepard. With young audience members on three sides of the stage, it is easy for the actors to involve the kids in their performances. This production’s target audience is children 4 years old and up, and it’s perfect for grandparents or parents to spend an hour being sweetly entertained with their favorite youngsters.
The youngest members of the audience might have missed the finer points of the play’s messages, but all seemed to have been thoroughly entertained and charmed, creating another generation of Pooh fans.
The House at Pooh Corner
- October 14th – November 15th, 2015
- Virginia Rep’s Children’s Theatre (Willow Lawn)
- Suggested for ages 4 and up
- 1 hour running time
- $18 (Subscribers $14)
- More information and ticket sales online