June 24, 2019
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“The Tailor of Gloucester” A new Christmas miracle

  • Twin sisters, Francesca and Victoria Antonini, play the roles of Bride Mouse and Groom Mouse. Photo Courtesy of Spreckels

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
December 7, 2018

 We all know that Scrooge encounters the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future on Christmas night in London.  But how many of us know that meanwhile, in Gloucester, England, a poor but kindly tailor frets the same night away worrying about the making of the mayor’s wedding coat.  Spreckels Performing Arts Center presents this story in musical form as a charming operetta, which involves mischievous cats and kindly mice.

  The performers delighted audience members of all ages.  Small children sitting with doting grandparents followed the musical narrative as cats connived and mice survived to offer goodness to one in need.  

  The show, taken from Beatrix Potter’s original story, was created fifteen years ago by local talent, Marcy Telles, who wrote the book and the lyrics, and Janis Dunson Wilson, who composed the music, who now also serves as the shows musical director.  Michael Ross directed the production while Michella Snider provided the choreography.

  The cast revealed this lovely tale with lively singing and timely dancing.  Craig Bainbridge, the tailor, anchored the show with musical drama, anxiety and kindliness.  His naughty cat, Simpkin, played by Zane Walters, brought the narrative close to the dark side.   Three other cats, Tex (played by Nafe Nafe), Bijou (Lorenzo Alviso) and Natasha (Schary Pearl Fugitt), suggest more walks on the evil side as they all danced and sung with energy.

  Michael Murdock, the mayor, conveyed the concerns of this dignitary through his dancing and singing, and Kirstin Pieschke, the mayor’s fiancée, smoothly complemented him.  Alice (Elisabeth Petro), Chris (Tony Cavallero) and Gordo (Mario Hererra) added to the theme of kindness.  

  Three wonderful mice add to the charm and gentle nature of the story.  Mistress Mouse (played by Eileen Morris), Bride Mouse (Francesca Antonini), and Groom Mouse (Victoria Antonini) underscore the wedding theme and reinforce the kindness motif.

  This is the perfect show to share with young playgoers.  During the first Sunday matinee, many children between the ages of five and ten appeared to be mesmerized by the singing and dancing cats and mice.  The story, fun to follow and simple to understand, offered a wonderful introduction to live performance.  Parents and grandparents, entertained by the wonderful show, enjoyed even more the engagement of the children. 

The show, held in the Bette Condiotti Experimental Theatre will likely sell out.  However, performances run through Dec, 16, Fri. and Sat. beginning at 7 p.m. and Sun., at 1 p.m.  There will also be shows Thurs., Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 8 and 15 at 1 p.m.  Contact the box office at (707) 588-3400, Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and one hour before the show.  Online:  www.spreckelsonline.com.