Monday November 5, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- The fantastic young company at New England Youth Theatre presents Roald Dahl’s "Fantastic Mr. Fox," with performances Nov. 2-11.

More than 20 youth, ages 9-12, have come together under the direction of Jane Baker to put together this production. In her formative years as a director, Baker had the opportunity to direct a young Tina Fey, and appears in the star’s autobiography under a pseudonym. She now brings her experience to NEYT students.

"After how much fun we had last year with Jane directing ‘James and the Giant Peach,’ we really wanted to bring her back to do another Roald Dahl story," said costumer and programming director Sandy Klein as she stitches trim on a hat for one of the characters. "The kids enjoyed it, the families enjoyed it, and our designers enjoyed it. The stories are wacky and the bad guys are hilariously evil. Oh, and the heroes are always the unlikely ones."

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" tells the story of the Fox family, who have relied on the father Fox’s crafty theft of local farmers’ food for their sustenance. But now the farmers -- Boggis, Bunce, and Bean -- are fighting back -- with bulldozers at the door of the Fox family home.

Banding together with his furry underground neighbors, Mr. Fox devises a fantastic plan to outfox Boggis, Bunce and Bean once and for all.

The clever and sometimes sarcastic dialogue of this adaptation is well-tailored for youth and adult audiences.


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Since the plot revolves around a hungry community of animals who have been cut off from their main food source, to help students understand this theme, NEYT is partnering with Vermont Foodbank to do a food drive at the theater now through Nov. 12. Please bring non-perishable food donations to the lobby of NEYT from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday or to any performance of "Fantastic Mr. Fox."

As this play is also all about collaboration, NEYT has joined forces with River Gallery School teacher Jason Alden, who is painting the sets.

For this production, under the direction of costuming apprentice Phoebe Martel, the show is being costumed entirely by students who are learning how to sew and felt.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" is presented on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3, 4, 10 and 11, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for students and seniors, $10 for adults. Tickets may be purchased at www.neyt.org, or at the NEYT box office in person or by phone at 802-246-6398, from noon to 5 p.m., on Wednesdays. The show plays at New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St.

New England Youth Theatre is an accessible theater, with accommodations for wheelchairs, and Assistive Listening Devices.