Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Charlotte's Web
Arden Theatre Company
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Also see Rebecca's recent review of One-Man Nutcracker

Victor Rodriguez Jr., Matteo Scammell,
and Brennen S. Malone

Photo by Wide Eyed Studios
Arden Children's Theatre is finally back on stage. I am happy to report that it is absolutely worth the wait. Director Whit MacLaughlin's delightful production of Charlotte's Web is energetic, innovative, and very, very funny. The talented ensemble delivers E.B. White's classic story, adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette, with an irresistible sense of freshness and enthusiasm. Sure to touch the hearts of young people and their grown ups, Charlotte's Web is superlative children's theater everyone can enjoy.

Charlotte's Web is a story about the power of love and friendship: the love of a young farm girl for a runt piglet called Wilbur, and the friendship between that pig and one extremely intelligent spider named Charlotte. On the farm, love and friendship save lives and work miracles for Wilbur, but they also end up breaking his heart.

The good folks on the Arable and Zuckerman farm are invitingly and authentically warm. Jessica Money is endearing and relatable as a particularly precocious Fern Arable. Julianna Zinkel plays Martha Arable with a recognizable mix of love, frustration and concern. Matteo Scammell is endearing as bumbling farmhand Lurvy.

But, as charming as the humans on the farm may be, the animals really steal the show. Brennen S. Malone is impossibly lovable as Wilbur the pig. Poised, flowing, steady, and serene Casie Girvin is absolutely arachnid as Charlotte. Scammell and Zinkel play animals on the farm, too. Scammell is brilliantly wicked as scheming rat Templeton, and Zinkel is hilarious as Goose. There is something special about the way MacLaughlin has his ensemble portray these animals that children will really connect with.

Do not miss the chance to take the kids in your life to the Arden for this exceptional production.

Charlotte's Web runs through January 29, 2023, at Arden Theatre Company, F. Otto Haas Stage, 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets or information please call 215-922-1122 or visit