Clop, clop, clap, clap
|By Paul Wozniak|
Riverwalk’s ‘Thunderhoof’ takes kids, adults on a fun ride
All family shows walk a fine line between child and adult sensibilities. Riverwalk Theatre’s current production of “Thunderhoof and the Prince” teeters courageously on that tightrope. The archetypal characters refer to their originals with a wink and nod, making the show almost too clever for some kids. Overall, however, “Thunderhoof ” does what it sets out to do.
Created by the Lansingbased author Fran Johnson and musically scored by Yvonne Whitmore, “Thunderhoof and the Prince” is a strong first attempt at the type of self-aware parody the movies have gotten down to a science in films like “Shrek” and “Enchanted.”
Kuhlman is a better singer than an actor, but his rigid posture is easy to overlook because he spends most of his time with more interesting characters — such as his horse. Ashley Ault is charming as a paperdoll-like mystery singer, the personage with real beauty and brains whom Prince Alex is destined to fall for.
More depth would have made these leading characters more interesting, but a capable cast collectively spurs “Thunderhoof” to full stride with several standout performances.
Among these are Jane Zussman and Tim Lewis as Queen Demonica and Count Kurdly, the show’s only true villains. With their deliciously evil delivery and campy antics, Zussman and Lewis create over-the-top yet believable characters who play off of each other with crack timing.
Joe Dickson uses a basic yet effective color palette well suited to Tom Ferris’s aesthetically simple, layered set design.
‘Thunderhoof and the Prince’