B is a mixed up, almost 10-year-old. She's living with her dad. She eats Whoppers for breakfast. She's not looking forward to turning double digits. And her mom rarely calls other than to make plans to send her to "fat camp" over the summer.
But, she also has a vivid imagination and a love of flying - two passions that are the focus of the story told in "When She Had Wings," a family show that opened Friday at Raleigh Little Theater. It runs through April 2.
The show tells the story of B, played by local teen Lilly Overton, who meets up with A, played by Rhonda Brocki, a mysterious older women who shows up in B's treehouse that's styled to look like an airplane. B keeps A a secret from her father, played by Aaron Young, who seems more focused on his collection of garden gnomes anyway.
As B struggles with the changes going on inside her and around her, she finds comfort in A, who barely speaks other than to squawk the letters KHAQQ, which happen to be the call sign for the plane flown by B's hero Amelia Earhart when she disappeared.
B wonders: Is she a bird? Is she actually Amelia Earhart? Or could she just be the woman, who ran away from the local senior center? And, together, can they fly?
B's vivid imagination comes to life with the help of two characters, dressed in blue jumpsuits - Wingman and Sound Op.
Wingman, played by Emma Johnson, moves around the props. Sound Op, played by Paul James, brings the soundtrack of B's imagination to life - the ding of a bell after a good idea; the moo of cows or sound of whales she's flying above; the "wah, wah, wah, wah" when she tells a good joke. They are sounds that might normally be played off stage, but Sound Op is part of the action with the rest of the actors.
This is a fun show with a lot of sweet moments. Overton does an amazing job bringing all of B's complex emotions to life. And Sound Op's role is a lot of fun for kids. My 7-year-old, especially, loved watching him make the various noises. (You can see my interview with him on Facebook below).
The show takes place in the intimate Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre. In the small black box theater, every seat is a good one. It's a great space for kids, especially, who are new to live theater. You feel almost part of the action.
Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for kids ages 12 and under. I'd say this show is best for ages 5 and up though the preschooler sitting behind us was truly enjoying every minute of it in adorable fashion. Raleigh Little Theater's website has the details and ticket information. Tickets often sell out. Be sure to get them in advance.
Next up in the community theater's family series: "James and the Giant Peach," which opens April 21.