Charming, brief 'Charlotte's Web' at Epic

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While we usually think of Epic Theatre as the home for daring, cutting-edge theatre, Artistic Director Kevin Broccoli has an unusual treat awaiting us this summer. He has chosen E.B. White’s classic children’s novel, Charlotte’s Web, adapted by Karen Foster, to open his two-play summer season. (The second play is Charlotte Foster’s The Secret Garden.)

You remember the story about Wilbur the Pig (Ian Hudgins) who is befriended by a spider (Kerry Giorgi). The play, like the book, is filled with wonderful messages for kids about diversity, friendship, kindness, self-respect and love. The 50-minute play is performed with playfulness and a big heart and is perfect for adults and children.

Fern (Betsy Rinaldi) saves Wilbur, the runt of the litter, not realizing that he will be raised to eventually meet his fate. Charlotte the spider has little in common with a pig, but finds a way to save him, helped by the other animals on the farm.

The cast is delightful, finding ways to portray the farm animals without making it into a farce. The props are simple and effective, and the story is interspersed with narration. It is sweet, simple and perfect for the introduction of the theatre to children. And you will love it, also.

At Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe St. in Cranston, through July 27. Tickets are $15, $20 at the door. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. (It will still be light out when you leave the theatre). For tickets e-mail www.artists-exchange.org.

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