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Greenville Middle School Drama brings comedy-mystery to stage

It was a delightfully daffy mystery that unfolded on stage last weekend in Greenville, as a group of characters straight out of a (fractured) fairy tale shared the story of “Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye.”

Directed by GMS band director Chris Pryor, Greenville Middle School Drama’s production of the comedic whodunit drew plenty of giggles and guffaws from an appreciative audience at the GHS auditorium Friday night.

The two-act play, with its cast of 20, featured two sets of actors playing the lead characters. Gumshoe Rumpelstiltskin (who amusingly has trouble pronouncing his own long-winded name) and his very capable (if slightly insecure) sidekick, Ugly Duckling, were played by I’yunna Burnett and Abrianna Burt in the first act, and by Reagan McLain and Vivian Gates in the second act.

Several of the young and energetic cast members performed double (and even triple) duty during the course of the 60-minute production. Burt took the role of Perky in the second act; in the first act, McLain appeared as the elusive Gingerbread Man, and Gates, as the brightest of the Three Little Pigs.

Amiry Bell was both Mama Bear and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother; Theo Bullard (like McLain and Gates, a seasoned Putting on the Ritz veteran) was Papa Bear, the Fairy Godfather (“I made your fairy godmother an offer she couldn’t refuse”) and Bossy the dwarf.

Laun Pryor, following in his big brother’s footsteps when the play was performed a few years ago, enacted the role of Baby Bear, the over-sized infant who proves to be the culprit behind a rash of robberies in Fairy Tale Land. Much to everyone’s surprise, Baby is actually a larcenous 42-year-old who has to be carted off to jail with the assistance of  the preening Prince Pronto, played by Aedan Skinner.

Makiya Claybourne played Goldilocks in the first act and narcoleptic dwarf Drowsy in the second act, while Kole Hovis was both Not-So-Smart Pig and down-in-the-dumps dwarf, Gloomy. Sandra Spurlock played both the Big Bad Wolf’s sister, Virginia, and a klutzy dwarf named (naturally) Clumsy.

Cyntenia Halsey was famished as the dwarf Hungry—and hilarious in a brief but memorable part as Little Red’s not-so-dead Granny (“They don’t call me the Grapplin’ Granny for nothing!”).

Other cast members included Michael Huppel (Worried Pig) Triderius Anderson (Big Bad Wolf), Danielle Whittle (Little Red), Keniyya Webb (Snow White),  Kayley Boutwell (Nerdy), Kylee Robinson (Cinderella), Madison Thornton (Minerva), Janiyah Mosley (Hortense) and Shariya Simmons (Penelope).

The cast, who had performed the production for younger students during the day on Friday, brought plenty of enthusiasm and excellent comic timing to the show—one that demanded snappy delivery and considerable physicality to some of its roles. Special kudos go to Burnett, Burt, McLain and Gates, the four actors who had the largest and most demanding roles in the production.

When praised for the success of the production, director Pryor said, “It’s not hard when you have such a great group of kids.”