WESTON - On June 20, the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company kicked off its summer season at its alternative stage (the Weston Rod and Gun Club) with a lively production of "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Based upon the 1987 children's book of the same name by Judith Viorst, this show, which runs just under one hour, was largely geared toward the very young set. A generous dose of audience participation spliced with some nifty tap dancing put smiles on the faces on the four-foot crowd, as well as the parents and grandparents tagging along.

The gentle narrative follows Alexander, probably a six-year old, through what was (you guessed it) a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. These very words were emblazoned in neon on the back wall of the simple set by Renata Y. Brewington, and blinked on when recited together repeatedly by cast and audience throughout the show, sort of like following the bouncing ball.

"Alexander" was brought to life by this year's version of Weston's Young Company, a talented group of seven actors hailing from various conservatories and universities. Each displayed an acumen for singing and nimbleness of foot. I asked Director Tim Fort how this was, as the Young Company normally is comprised of all shapes and sizes, to which he replied, "well, all of them are in '42nd Street' later this season." Come and see a preview of "those dancin' feet.


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At the center of it all, Dan Reardon, as Alexander, expressed all of his character's frustrations without appearing whiney as he got it wrong, and acted up. After all, who doesn't forget to flush?

Clara Cox and Mickey Ryan charm as Alexander's not so sympathetic older siblings, who (surprise, surprise) tease their younger brother. Amanda Paige and Conor Guzman play the various adults in Alexander's life, including his frowning parents. As a not-so-hopeful shoe salesman, Guzman dazzled with some very sweet tap-dancing during his solo number, "Shoes."

Claire Charland and Spencer Kiely rounded out the ensemble as our hero's different classmates and friends. Kiely, as Paul, sang an ode to an unattainable "Lizzie Pitofsky" that recalled Charlie Brown's little red-headed girl and every other unattainable childhood crush.

The intimate space at the Weston Rod and Gun Club was well-suited to this childhood romp. "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" will entertain the young ones, and serve as an excellent introduction to live theatre.

Late afternoon performances of "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day", continue at the Weston Rod and Gun Club through Saturday, July 7. For tickets, call the box office at 802-824-5288 or visit westonplayhouse.org.