All that, and more

Review of The Neverending Story by Emma K., age 16

Any story containing magical lands, a courageous hero, fantastical beasts and a subtle moral is bound to provide a child with endless entertainment. The Neverending Story, currently playing at Seattle Children’s Theatre, has all this and more.

Michael Place as Atreyu and Hans Altwies as Falkor in The Neverending Story
Photo by Chris Bennion

It is the story of a young boy names Bastian who, after recently losing his mother, discovers an engrossing novel: The Neverending Story. Camping out in a hidden room of his school, he reads about the mysterious country of Fantastica, whose queen, the Childlike Empress, is dying. Meanwhile an unknown terror called The Nothing is destroying her kingdom. A young hunter named Atreyu is enlisted to search the country until he finds the one thing that will save Fantastica: someone to give the Childlike Empress a new name. As Bastian reads, he discovers that his wishes for the book’s characters play a bigger role in the story than he could ever have imagined.

Although the play does not have a particularly strong start, the journey into Fantastica makes up for it. Brilliant sets designed by Carey Wong completely transport the audience into many different locations while Catherine Hunt’s lush costumes add to the magical effect. Also to be noted are Andrew Duff and Chris R. Walker, whose respective lighting and sound effects heighten the mood. In addition to nine adult actors, the production boasts an array of puppets, ranging from miniature gnomes to towering giants. Especially impressive are a larger-than-life spider, and an ancient turtle who takes up a third of the stage. All of the puppets are designed and ‘directed’ by Douglas N. Paasch, whose creations have been seen around Seattle for many years. Also on the list of special effects are a fog machine, falling snow, and a special system of ropes which allows the actors to fly.

While all of the actors are enjoyable, standout performances are given by Timothy Hyland as an eccentric book-seller, and Hans Altwies, whose portrayal of the lucky dragon was a favorite with the young crowd. Michael Place is easy to relate to as Atreyu, Fantastica’s hero, though his character’s almost constant angst could become wearisome. As Bastian, Gabriel Baron added a touch of comedy and effortlessly endeared himself to the crowd. The cast also voices the puppets, providing an assortment of amusing personalities.

The Neverending Story is a delightful creation for younger children whose imaginations are always ready for an adventure.

Emma K.
December 15th, 2007

The Neverending Story
Seattle Children's Theatre
Through January 27th

More info and show times:
SCT’s Ticket Office: 206-441-3322
Ticket Office Hours: Friday 9 a.m. – show time, Saturday 10 a.m. – show time, Sunday noon – show time

Seattle Children's Theatre is located at the West entrance to Seattle Center, just north of Pacific Science Center and West of the Space Needle. It is served by buses 1, 13, 15, 18, 19, 24 and 33. For bus times:

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