Take a journey down the muddy water and you see Holy Cross's production of

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The story of Big River is a musical adventure of Mark Twain's legendary novel, wherein Huck, a small town boy in the South, runs away from his father and what he calls a "boring life." He encounters Jim, a runaway slave, who is determined to become a free man. They travel up and down the river, meeting countless characters and always managing to get in trouble.

Holy Cross literally took the set straight from the book. The stage was a myriad of book pages and illustrations. The raft rolled right along the book pages, as if it were on a river itself, while the back lighting changed to set the scene. Props were used to help guide the scene along; however, the props were sometimes nonexistent.

The audience first meets the great Huckleberry Finn (Jimmy Magrann), who had a wonderful Southern accent and a strong stage presence. He travels over to meet Tom Sawyer (Nick Francesconi) to plan his future of a misfit. As the story progresses and Huck makes his escape from his father, he joins Jim (Shawn Kyle) along the river to begin his journey. Throughout the show, these characters showed enthusiasm and vigor.

The music during the show was filled with enthusiasm. Along the river, the duet of Huck and Jim performed a myriad of songs, sometimes accompanied by the hilarious frauds, the Duke (Jonathan Joaquin) and King (Will Grogan). The harmonies were well performed and the solos were lively. The song "Arkansas" was the spirit of the South, performed wonderfully by Chelsea Pullion. "The Crossing" (sung by Alex Davis), a dramatic song about slavery in the South, brought tears to audience's eyes.

Holy Cross's production of Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a animated performance, capturing the hearts of this reviewer with the tale of one boy.

Cappies Reviews

The Neighbors section publishes student reviews of high school theater productions. The reviews are produced by the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Cappies - the Critics and Awards Program - which enables high school students to review shows at other schools under the guidance of faculty mentors.

This week the reviews are of Holy Cross High's Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Other South Jersey schools participating in the program are Cherry Hill West, Eastern Regional, Lindenwold and Woodbury.

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