Publishers Weekly
September 13, 1999


H.G. Wells's 1896 novel makes a fine transition (worlds away from the ghastly feature film) to the stage in this production, the latest in the fine series of Globalstage Theatre Adventures. The series framework remains strong: British professor Elizabeth McNamer and 12-year-old Preston Blakeley introduce the premise of the play, this time as they arrive in Seattle, Wash., via ferryboat. The two disembark, and along with home viewers, attend the Taproot [Theatre] performance. The excellent company of actors vividly re-creates Well's tropical island drama, where shipwrecked Edward Prendick stumbles upon the awful experiments (surgically transformaing animals into humans) of Dr. Moreau. Weighty issues -- what differentiates humans from the beasts, nature vs. nurture and Darwinism vs. religion or creationism quickly jump to the foreground. The actors never enter Dr. Moreau's gruesome laboratory, the "House of Pain," but younger viewers may be alarmed by a few violent skirmishes and the presence of a pistol. Following the play, McNamer and Blakeley briefly chat with actor Joshua Bott (who plays Prendick) and visit the Settle zoo for a quick look at gorillas and pumas, which figure prominently in Wells's story. Ages 9-up.