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Giants on stage

Audiences were introduced to giants, discovered snozzcumbers, and laughed at whizpopping at the Theatre of Youth. No, this wasn't the result of a giant Scrabble game gone wrong -- this was the magical world of Roald Dahl.

"The BFG," an adaptation of Dahl's novel "The Big Friendly Giant," opened Friday in the TOY theater on Allen Street and will play through April 9.

It's the story of a young girl named Sophie who meets and befriends a friendly giant who collects and sends dreams to children around the world. But when Sophie and the BFG learn that the other, nastier giants plan to eat the children from Great Britain, the two embark on a grand journey to save the children and end up meeting the Queen of England herself.

"The BFG" at TOY will appeal to those who have read the book and those who are new to the story. The play stays true to the book. Says longtime Dahl fan Daniel Van Oss: "The play was pretty much the same as the book, although it wasn't as detailed. The way Sophie narrated some of the story in the third person made the story very clear."

The play will be more interesting for younger kids and parents, but teens shouldn't automatically count themselves out. Although the plot is relatively simple, the adventure is nonetheless a fun one. Some parts are obviously geared for a younger audience; the dozens of helpless children that are devoured by the giants are all but forgotten in the end, and the story concludes with a victorious note when the mean orphanage lady is fired. "The BFG" has plenty of funny moments -- there were even a few moments where the adults were the ones laughing and a small boy near me asked: "What's so funny, Mommy?"

You may be wondering how the size difference between giants and humans is presented on stage -- after all, a play about giants without any giant-sized people would be a bit confusing. To solve the problem, small puppets of each human are used to present the size difference to the audience. Whenever a giant and a human are on stage together, the actor playing the human portrays his actions through the puppet.

The puppets themselves are works of art. Each one is colorfully dressed in an outfit perfectly matching the actors' costumes. The puppets are quite entertaining to watch, and they present a very creative way of dealing with the presence of both giants and humans on stage at the same time.

Roald Dahl fans will definitely want to check out "The BFG."

Sean Pegado is a junior at Nichols.

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"The BFG" continues at the Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen St., at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 9. Tickets are $17 to $19. Call 884-4400. Recommended for kids age 7 and older. The play is in two acts (one 45 minutes long and one 28 minutes long, with one 15-minute intermission.)

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