REVUE: Hope Summer Theatre presents ‘Tuck Everlasting’
HOLLAND, MI– What if you could live forever?
This is the idea around which the whimsical musical “Tuck Everlasting”, currently in production at Hope Repertory Theatre under direction from new Artistic Director Marcus Denard Johnson, dances. Sometimes beautifully and other times confusingly, this adaptation of the 1975 children’s novel that was also adapted twice for film, is both lovely and flawed—much like life as well as death, and in this fantastical world on stage the two are inextricably intertwined.
Set in 19th Century small-town New Hampshire, the story focuses on Winnie, an adventurous 11-year-old girl who is stifled and housebound by her grieving mother. She runs away to the woods and stumbles upon a teenage boy drinking from a spring that turns out to be a fountain of youth. Jesse, who appears to be 17, has actually been alive for 102 years thanks to sipping that magic water, and the rest of his family, the Tucks, are also stuck in the bodies and ages they were when they first quenched their thirst. Winnie wants to drink the water, too, but Jessie convinces her to wait—at least until she’s a teenager too—so they can be immortal, and ostensibly romantic, together.
It’s a little bit creepy for a 17 year old to have eyes for an 11 year old, especially when he’s really 102. But if one lives forever in a youthful body can wisdom still be attained?
It is hard to tell with the Tuck family who have suffered for having been imprisoned in the woods as well as in their bodies and lives. Immortality is not at all what it’s cracked up to be for the Tucks, and so the central tension of the show: will Winnie drink from the spring or will she not—isn’t much of a question at all.