Despite the title’s suggestion to the contrary, the princess in “The Princess Who Wouldn’t Wear Pink” would, in fact, wear pink, but only if she had a very good reason. Princess Rose, the heroine of writer and director Joe Link’s script for this year’s edition of Brucemore’s Outdoor Children’s Theatre, is both independent and self-sacrificing.
As portrayed by Jennie Kies, Rose is a good role model — for girls and boys alike — without ever becoming a didactic one. The appealing character shared her ingenuity and kindheartedness with a large crowd for the evening’s second showing of the play on Wednesday.
Princess Rose, who doesn’t go in for most traditional princess-like behavior, sets out to visit her father who is himself visiting a kingdom some ways off. Accompanied by the unseen and much-maligned Narrator — winningly portrayed by Nathan Nelson — Rose is delayed on her journey several times as she offers assistance to several fairy-tale characters.
For example, she comes to the aid of Rapunzel who has, oddly enough, locked herself out of her tower, but managed to get her hair caught upstairs while stranding herself downstairs. Katie Knutson is simply delightful as the long-haired scatterbrain who, in keeping with the play’s recurring theme, is surprised to learn that a princess can be resourceful.
Rob Merritt’s take on Humpty Dumpty, an addled egg with a serious head injury, provides the play’s most amusing moments for both kids and adults. The puppet mice (or are they rats?) Rusty and Dusty (Nelson and Carrie Fattig) play key roles in the tale, scurrying to bring an essential invitation to Rose so she will be admitted to the ball. The puppets are mainstays of the Brucemore children’s plays, providing a nice bit of continuity.
The clever, flexible set — which transforms into various castles, woodland scenes, and towers with apparent ease — is excellent. The costume designer (who like the set designer goes without credit in the program) did fine work with Princess Rose’s pink dress, as well, as it provides her with many of the items she needs to help her new friends.
The many young people in the audience, including my two young daughters, were more than happy to count themselves among those friends.
See the show today and Saturday at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children at the gate.
— ROB CLINE