Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Little Women"

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entire contents copyright 1998 by Beverly Creasey

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

"Little Women"

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

If you've heard of The Wheelock Family Theatre, you're in for a treat ... and if you think "family fare" isn't your cup of tea, you're in for a surprise. Don't let the "family" moniker dissuade you from sampling a first-rate production like Wheelock's current incarnation of "Little Women" --- adapted for the stage by Marisha Chamberlain from the novel by Louisa May Alcott. The production sports a lavish set by Emmy Award-winning designer Tom Jozwick, imaginative direction by Sue Kosoff, and professional acting by the entire cast.

Steve Rosen's soft, muted lighting bathes the expansive March house in warmth. Never has a set better suited the elongated Wheelock stage. Robin McLaughlin's period costumes and Kosoff's choice of Civil War era music set the perfect tone for some grand performances --- notably Donna Sorbello as the genteel, understanding matriarch of the family, but with Julia Jones as a spunky Jo, Grace Napier as the demure Meg, Julie Keefe as the mischievous Amy, and Katrina Grigg-Saito as the doomed Beth.

Jane Staab is solid as their long-suffering, sacrificing houskeeper. Daniel Bolton adds Clever Comic and Fulani Haynes harumphs her way delightfully around the stage as their formidable aunt. One might say, in the spirit of 19th Century Concord, that Wheelock's charming version of the beloved classic is, well, transcendental.

"Little Women" (till 22 February)
200 Thew Riverway, BOSTON
1(617734-5200 EXT 146

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