BY HEATHER DRIVER
Remember a time where you believed your toys had spirits? How you would spend long days carrying on conversations during tea party chatters over what Mrs. Dolly wore to the Cinderella ball or how your armies of G.I Joes would take over Candy Land? The simple innocence of a younger time, sitting in your bedroom letting imagination take forth. Foothills Playhouse in Easley brings forth a wonderful classic to bring back those childhood memories that we all have long forgotten. “The Velveteen Rabbit,” is a simple delight for young and old.
Directed by the wonderful Donna Duffie, this production brings to life the tale of a little velveteen rabbit, played by Tessa Ellis, and her “travels.” The story begins as Andrea, played by Eve Emory, is given a birthday gift of a little stuffed rabbit. At first, she isn’t too taken with the rabbit and decides to focus on her “prized” toy, her doll. As the velveteen rabbit sits on a shelf as Andrea sleeps, she begins to become alive along with some unlikely friends: a lion named Timothy (Nathan Oliver), a train engine (Blake Hydrick), a skin horse (Ty Tysinger), and a model boat (Molly Emory), all of whom are delightfully dressed in homemade costumes, and add an extra “spirit” to their characters.
As the story continues, Andrea begins to like her rabbit after her Dolly goes missing.
Andrea is cared for by her Nana (played by Kathy Patterson), her mother (Crystal Emory), and her Uncle Brad (Ryan Oliver), who is Skin Horse’s previous owner. In the adventures of Andrea and Rabbit, they meet unlikely pairs of actual rabbits (Gavin Jeffery, Seth Watson, Meagan Stillwell, Madison Stillwell, and Whitney Porter).
As the seasons change from Fall to Winter to Spring, thanks to the tree spirits (Lonnience Thomas, Evan Baldwin, Jillian Dioguardi, Kaitlyn Kelley, Eliza Whitmire, Selah Coggins, and Brendan Perfater), Andrea falls ill and the doctor (Jay Perfater) diagnoses her with scarlet fever.
In the efforts to stop the spread, he orders Nana to burn all the sheets, anything Andrea has touched or been around, including her precious Velveteen. In the climax, Rabbit successfully breaks free and finds herself in the forest yet again, but is greeted by a Nursery Fairy (Emily Hendon), who grants the wish of the little velveteen into becoming “real.”
In my opinion, this production was wonderfully done and a simple delight. The casting, directing, set, lighting and sound were spot on and they truly made you feel like you were in Andrea’s nursery.
Perfect for young ages, older audiences, and anyone who wants to relive their childhood wonders. This tale is definitely one for the books. It’ll make you want to pull out your stuffed animals or your prized toys from your childhood and love on them once again.
“The Velveteen Rabbit,” runs for one more weekend on Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m, with a special school production open to the public on Thursday, May 4th at 9 a.m. Adult tickets are $15, Children under 6 years are $5, and Military/Senior are $10. You can purchase tickets at fhplayhouse.com, or you can call the playhouse at 864-885-1817. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. You definitely don’t want to miss this production!
Also, join Foothills Playhouse on Friday, May 19th at 7 p.m. as the theatre announces its 2017-2018 season!
Heather Driver is a Foothills Playhouse Board Member.