“The Monster Under The Bed,” presented by West Springfield High School, was thoroughly entertaining for viewers of all ages, snatching the attention and laughter of the entire audience. The plot revolves around Ben, a young boy that stumbles across an actual monster who is living under his bed, with whom Ben switches places for the day. The show debuted in the Polka Theatre, in the United Kingdom in 2009. In West Springfield's production, they successfully upheld the play's British roots through the impressive use of believable yet understandable accents by every single actor in the show.
Connor Brunson, who portrayed Ben, instantly captured the hearts of everyone in the audience. His youthful energy and playful personality solidified the image of a little boy that he tried to convey, which was believable the entire time. Sonya Maria Leon perfectly fit the role of the zany yet sweet Monster found under Ben's bed, causing every scene that she participated in to burst with energy and enthusiasm. What stood out during her performance was the physicality she used, altering certain actions like jumping around and walking to make herself seem even more like a unique creature, which contributed heavily to the entertaining and comedic aspects of the show. Both Brunson and Leon established distinctive relationships not only with each other, but with all those around them, making the world of the play much more real.
Captivating performances by supporting roles are what brought this production to the next level. Zoey Barnett, portraying the role of Ben's teacher, Miss Rowlands, commanded the stage with every appearance, and added depth and detail to a very simple character. Steven "Fish" Smith also did a phenomenal job at making the simple role of Anthony stand out throughout the performance by combining the perfect amount of arrogance and comedy. Easily one of the most impressive appearances of the show was that of Martin Desjardins as the Dad Monster, whose face and body were never shown during the play, but who was still able to create a clear character filled with emotion using only his voice. He effortlessly showed various different sides of the role and displayed perfect character shifts.
Many of the technical aspects of the production were very effective and well-executed. The set pieces and puppetry were what really enhanced the show. The set pieces were extremely intricate, with numerous tiny details which transported the audience to a completely different world. The breathtaking puppet that represented the Dad Monster was consistently in sync with the words being spoken by Desjardins, and all puppets used during the play were very detailed and creative. The puppeteers were also in full costume and makeup, immersing themselves in the environment.
West Springfield created a production of The Monster Under The Bed that was a truly amusing and playful experience, perfect for people of all ages who are seeking high energy levels, talented individuals, and endless amounts of fun!