Star Ledger theater reviewer Peter Filichia finds the puppets that populate the ‘Our Town’ production at the Two River Theater “adorable” but distracting.
In his review, in today’s editions, Filichia calls TRT artistic director Aaron Posner’s approach to Thornton Wilder’s stage classic “an almost great production of a great play. If only he’d kept “Avenue Q” in Manhattan.”
But Tom Chesek, writing in today’s Asbury Park Press, says the theater’s “innovative revival may help you see this richly detailed work with a fresh set of eyes.”
Under the supervision of Two River artistic director Aaron Posner, Wilder’s signature work concerned as it is with life, death, and what comes after both enters a whole new aspect of its existence, maybe even to such an extent that it will become difficult to revisit this “Town” in its “traditional” staging.
Chesek adds that the 13 puppets created by Aaron Cromie
are voiced and given motion by the production’s seven human actors none of them presumably trained as puppeteers with an ease that avoids Vegas-style kabuki in favor of the easygoing, conversational tone of a visit to Mr. Rogers’ Land of Make Believe. The effect isn’t gimmicky but surprisingly naturalistic a few minutes into the play, and you’d think it was written to be performed this way.