The UVU Theatre Department put on a wonderful musical rendition of the children’s story by Roald Dahl, “James and the Giant Peach.” It follows an orphaned boy, James, who goes to live with his two awful aunts and subsequently flees their tyrannical reign on a giant, magical peach with several human-sized talking bugs. Throughout the hardships they face on their shared adventure, they come to create their own unique family together.
Outstanding performances were given by everyone involved. They brought the personalities of their characters to life in unique and creative ways, displaying that despite how different they are from one another, they can still manage to come together and build a home. One instance in particular in which this could be seen was when James and his companions helped the character, Earthworm, overcome his fear. It was a hilarious and triumphant moment that had everyone in the crowd near tears with laughter. The two aunts also stood out as the antagonists in the comedically detestable way in which they treated James.
Without a doubt, the most remarkable part of the show was the music which was a fun and energetic experience that blended the dark and terrifying aspects of childhood with optimism and hope. From the song “Right Before Your Eyes,” which sets up the deadly stakes and irreverent mood to “Middle of the Moment,” which is the thematic backbone of the story and was given a powerful performance by UVU’s own Cade Hixson, who played James.
The set and costume design created a mesmerizing and immersive atmosphere. It had a cutout of the titular peach artfully inlaid with flowers which acted as the center of the production, but there were further elements with clouds above and the city skyline in the background which gave it a sense of depth and variety. The lighting was deep and vibrant which heightened the mood whether it be positive or negative, giving it a dreamlike quality. In a clever display, they used lights that surrounded the peach to simulate when the magic potion caused it to grow. And the colorful costumes invoked a romantic feeling of the ‘60s — the time in which the original book was written and took place.
This was an amazing show put on by a talented crew. Despite being a children’s story, its themes resonate throughout all ages. It speaks to the loneliness and desperation to find one’s place in the world that all human beings seek. This strange and quirky story is a beloved classic for a reason. The UVU Theatre Department masterfully portrayed this message in a way that was entertaining and memorable.