Seattle's Child

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A Parent’s Review: Sleeping Beauty at Second Story Repertory

SecondStory Repertory's Sleeping Beauty is a magical reminder that this fairy tale existed long before Disney's version graced the screen in 1959. If you have a fan of the silvery-voiced Aurora living in your house, the basic plots are the same: beloved baby princess is cursed by evil witch, pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and falls asleep until the enchantment is broken by her true love's kiss. The similarities end there.

This production, which is a combination of an English production and the musical adaptation by Seattle Children's Theatre, feels more like the fairytales of old where woods are filled with magic and forces of good and evil vie for dominance. But it has a modern twist, too. The princess has a bit more spunk and even teaches the prince how to sword fight.

The prince makes his entrance as an insecure underdog who gains confidence as he outwits woodland fairies, a spider king, and Modron, the evil witch, to save the princess Briar Rose. She and Prince Owain are helped along to their happily-ever-after by Modron's sister, the good witch Branwen and Griff, a loveable half man, half dragon.

I love that kids get to sit on the carpet, close to the action. Actors talk to and intermingle with the children. The beautiful sets, costumes, and lighting also serve to immerse the audience in the fairytale. There are a few loud moments, and Modron and other characters can be scary at times.

The story is somewhat complex, making it best suited for school-age children. With a running time of an hour and a half with no intermission, parents of younger children will have to gauge their own child's attention span. Some younger kids in the audience were enthralled, while others whined and rolled around on the floor.

My 7-year-old and her friend, who were a bit fidgety before the performance, sat glued to the floor for the entire play. Both of them loved the show and had their own fairytale ending when they got to meet the actors in the foyer afterwards. My daughter gave Modron a heartfelt hug.

Ultimately this play will leave you feeling as if you've visited an ancient realm. Watching it, I was reminded of another film, Labryinth (1986), in which the main character expresses surprise at having been bitten by a fairy and is asked, "What'd you expect fairies to do?" She replies, "I thought they did nice things, like granting wishes!" to which her companion replies, "Show's what you know, don't it?"



Where: SecondStory Repertory, Redmond Town Center, 16587 N.E. 74th St., Redmond.

When: Through Jan. 23. Friday 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Appropriate for grade school-age children. Families with younger children can attend the “all ages” performances every Sunday at 1 p.m.

Admission: $10.

Contact: 425-881-6777;

Laura Spruce Wight is a Seattle-area freelance writer and mother of two.

About the Author

Laura Spruce Wight