December 4, 2000
SCT's lively and spirited 'Prince Brat' is an ideal holiday offering
by Deborah Stone
Currently on stage at the Seattle Children's Theatre is the world premiere musical "Prince Brat and the Whipping Boy," based on the Newbery Award-winning book, "The Whipping Boy," by Sid Fleischman.
This lively, spirited show, directed by Linda Hartzell, follows the adventures and unlikely friendship that develops between Prince Horace (Jeff Cummings), otherwise known as Prince Brat, and Jemmy (Jason Collins), a boy from the streets who is brought to the castle to take the prince's punishments for him.
The two boys, who dislike one another immensely, escape from the palace, each with his own motivations for seeking freedom.
They follow a winding, twisting road, full of adventures and encounters with a host of colorful characters, such as the infamous highwaymen Hold-Your-Nose-Billy (Jeff Steitzer) and Cutwater (Jayne Muirhead), Petunia, the dancing bear (Thomas Arthur Grant), kind Betsy, Petunia's trainer (Colleen Raney) and Nips, the hot potato man (David Silverman).
The pair is pursued on one side by the highwaymen, who want to ransom the Prince, and by the King's guards, on the other side.
"Prince Brat" is a comedy of errors, full of mistaken identities, role reversals and plenty of slapstick to keep young children entertained.
Author Sid Fleischman adapted his book for the stage and wrote the lyrics for the entertaining songs that Music Director John Engerman arranged.
Each engaging song connects to and further defines a character, as well as his/her connections with the other characters in the show.
The production has a live keyboardist performing in full view of the actors and audience and the music is played acoustically using harpsichord, organ and accordion sounds to simulate the old England time period.
The cast is full of energy as they sing and dance their way through this rollicking and lively musical.
"Prince Brat and the Whipping Boy" runs through Jan. 13 in the Charlotte Martin Theatre at Seattle Center. For ticket information call (206) 441-3322.