The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Semantically musical

★★★★★The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

I was recently asked by an eleven-year-old to spell, peripatetic. P-E-R-I-P-A-T-E-T-I-C. Thankfully the letters fell from my lips in the correct order, and there was no bell indicating a mistake or worse, failure!

This is the simple premise of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a joyous, technicolor® musical celebration of American spelling bees, where, ‘an eclectic group of six mid-pubescent children vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.’

Elizabeth Chadwick
Directed and choreographed by Adam Haigh with great flair in the small, but beautifully, formed Drayton Arms theatre, Spelling Bee has a wonderfully multi-talented ensemble, all with multi-coloured wigs – particularly brave during the stifling heat of last weekend! A standout performance from Elizabeth Chadwick (also producing) as Rona Lisa Peretti who holds the entire bee together, as well as the production. I must mention she did an expert job in recruiting four audience members to join the fun and extracting their resumes which were used brilliantly throughout!

Aaron Jenson
T J Lloyd
Aaron Jenson as Chip Tolentino, last year’s winner of the bee, was very funny having problems with rushes of blood – not to his brain – and his obsession with an audience member in the second row. TJ Lloyd as Barfee worked his yellow socks off - in difficult conditions – throughout, but, in reality, the success of this entire show rests with the strength of the ensemble, all of which sings and dances wonderfully and deserves the highest, unreserved praise.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is the perfect show for a joyous summer night out, and this is a production that unashamedly deserves - and tirelessly works for - its success. It spells success, go – G-O!

Until 16 June 2018 at Drayton Arms Pub Theatre