Reviewed by Katherine O’Donnell
The classic tales of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends comes to life charmingly on the stage of the Virginia Rep’s Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn during The House at Pooh Corner. As the show begins, Christopher Robin, played by Raif Winn in his professional theatre debut, sets the scene of the Hundred Acre Wood. We meet the lovable Pooh, who Caleb Wade seems meant to play. Gentle and kind, but not the smartest bear, Pooh introduces us to his love of his friends and, of course, honey.
Along the way, we’re introduced to all the characters. Perky and cute Piglet, played by Grace Sammons, sings with Pooh about being best friends, and they stay together for most of the show. A favorite of my 6-year-old, Norah, Piglet’s most poignant moment was when they were lost in the woods and she took Pooh’s hand and said “I just want to be sure of you, Pooh.”
The theme of friendship runs through the play particularly when we meet the bouncing, boisterous, and hilarious Tigger, played by Adam Turck. An instant hit with all the children in the audience who laughed out loud at his antics, Tigger’s enthusiasm tests the patience – and the character – of some of the friends. Particularly Eeyore and Rabbit, who due to a cast member illness, were both very well played by Chandler Hubbard. While classically gloomy Eeyore mostly laments Tigger’s presence, we all know Rabbit is more conniving. In the play’s most teachable moment, we watch as Rabbit’s plan to lose Tigger in the woods backfires. And as the wise Owl, played by Thomas Nowlin, reassures the audience, “Sometimes right and wrong cannot be taught, but rather must be learned.” Owl’s sage advice and costume complete with feathers on his glasses won him a place in my heart.
By the end of the performance, we learn that it is time for Christopher Robin to grow up and leave his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. As a parent, this moment resonated. Christopher Robin says he is scared, excited, happy and sad: all things I feel nearly daily as I watch my children grow. Henry, my 3-year-old, recounts this scene most from the play saying it’s when his favorite character Pooh and Christopher Robin sing about being best friends. Christopher Robin says Pooh will always be with him – in his heart. And that is where we all carry the memories of childhood. For our family, The House at Pooh’s Corner will be a memory we cherish: a fun-filled morning that lives on in our hearts.
To create your own cherished memory, see The House at Pooh Corner at Virginia Rep’s Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn through November 15.
Save $2 on HOUSE AT POOH CORNER with code 2OFFPOOH and celebrate the season of thanks with your friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.