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The Princess and the Goblin Provides Excellent Entertainment for All Ages

Given its rich history in presenting classic works of literature, it’s no surprise that all for One frequently provides adaptations of beloved children’s books. In fact, this is the second time in a decade that the faith-driven theatre company has staged the popular The Princess and the Goblin, and in its opening night, the audience was very vocal in its pleasure as the play unfolded.

Lauren Nichols, all for One artistic director, was also director for this production, based on a book she admits was a favorite of her childhood. Her devotion to the work is evident in the care she took in presenting the suspenseful elements of the story but especially in how she deftly handled the significant humor. The audience clearly agreed since the laughter rang through much of the 70-minute performance. The story moved swiftly but not at a dizzying speed which would have muffled much of that humor.

Of course, the credit goes to the cast as well as the director. That accomplishment is especially noteworthy given the young cast which carry much of the weight. The young goblins were the big hit of the show, with a goblin dance particularly winning. The three elder goblins also scored big laughs, wringing more humor out of the word “toes” than one could rightly expect. (Trust me.) But the quirky delight of the goblins did not upstage the rest of the cast, three of whom handled not only a huge amount of dialogue but also all the narration which told the story the dialogue and action alone could not. There’s a lot to unpack in the story and telling it efficiently requires some explanation which is handled deftly in the script and performances.

Teenagers Melanie Klaus (as Princess Irene) and Isaiah (as Curdie) more than hold their own, with each providing sweet characterizations while keeping the story moving forward. Busy Fort Wayne actor Dotty Miller (as the Mysterious Lady) deserves kudos for not only handling a great deal of dialogue and narration but also staying on stage, handling spinning wheel duties throughout much of the performance, for much of the show. Abbey Pfenning also earns attention for handling two very different roles with aplomb.

The audience also deserves credit for bringing so much of their own joy and pleasure to the experience. In fact, at one point, when the King’s knights run onto the stage looking for the cause of the disturbances, one enthusiastic youngster called from the audience “It’s the goblins! They’re right over there!” While such distractions would normally be off-putting, in the context of this show, it felt about right.

With shows running through May 1, all for One’s The Princess and the Goblin is a family delight, an excellent introduction the theatre for young audiences, and a timeless pleasure for the adults who accompany them.

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