St. John’s students were able to take a trip down memory lane this past weekend as a childhood favorite came to life in the Chapell Players Theatre Group’s musical performance of A Year with Frog and Toad at the Little Theatre.
Frog and Toad’s adventures start off as the two pals welcome spring after their hibernation and enjoy their companionship throughout each season of the year. The musical depicted a friendship between two different characters, showing that sometimes one may get upset but in the end, the love for one another wins.
Although the production was geared towards children, college students and parents enjoyed the performance as well, laughing and applauding in all the right places.
Actors Justin Phillips and Michael Courtien, who played Frog and Toad respectively, complimented each other very well, from their characters’ affectionate friendship to their harmonious voices. Neither overpowered or upstaged the other at all.
Two other characters who left a lasting impression were the humorous Snail, played by Dylan Frisina, and Turtle, played by Lara Love. Despite the show opening well with two musical numbers, it was Frisina’s character and enthusiastic delivery that captured the audience. This particular musical number was repeated throughout the performance and never failed to get a laugh out of the audience each time. Love, who played the lovable Turtle, captured audiences with her character’s amusing snarky manner and contrasting bubbly personality.
The set successfully accomplished both creativity and efficiency throughout the show. The use of props was very innovative yet simple, using poles with strings attached to bumblebees, to embody the insects in motion. The lighting also helped tell the story of Frog and Toad’s adventures by using different levels of brightness to distinguish the seasons of the year.
A very minor problem found within the performance at the Little Theatre was the sound system. It would have enhanced the performance had the stage crew lowered the volume on the cast’s microphones slightly during their loud bellows in certain lines. Thankfully, those were few and far between, making the show overall very pleasant to hear and watch.
Another downfall was the confusion caused by actors who played multiple roles. Some characters were introduced by name, which made it easier to distinguish, however other times, only a minor costume change indicated a different character which made it a little more difficult as to who was playing what. A possible solution would have been to hold school wide auditions for students to fill other roles.
The cast seemed very excited and joyful during the performance, two very important key factors in putting on a children’s show. They even allowed their childish sides to take over in the program, revealing their superhero powers in their dialogue. Small touches like this gave the impression that the cast truly enjoyed putting on these performances, momentarily forgetting their hectic college lives to revel in the opportunity to act like kids again with no judgment.
Overall A Year with Frog and Toadwas a very enjoyable performance where one could just get lost in the memories of childhood. It’s productions like these that make them worth telling the St. John’s community about.