Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: 6 Pence Productions

When I discovered that the fairytale audio CDs by 6 Pence Productions are voiced entirely by children 5-17, I was immediately interested. If you've been a reader in the past, you've probably figured out that both of my kids enjoy theater.  Combine that with a love of audiobooks and an appreciation of an imaginative story, and the "stage" is set to enjoy a CD by Audio Theatre for Kids - By Kids!

I received two CDs for review from 6 Pence Productions: The Fairytale Collection ($14.95) and Princess Reform School ($19.95).

The Fairytale Collection, which has a total running time of almost an hour, retells five classic fairytales.  However, the retellings aren't exactly the versions you remember.  Three Billy Goats Gruff, Cinderella and Friends, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Three Little Pigs Meet the Big Bad Wolves, and Princess and the Pea are presented with modern flair and unexpected twists.  The suggested age range for this CD is 3-8.  It will be enjoyed more if listeners have previous knowledge of the original versions, but they are enjoyable enough as is.

The second CD, the Princess Reform School, is suggested for ages 6-13.  Rather than separate stories, the CD is one 1 1/2 hour story, based on the a play originally performed at Flat Rock Playhouse, The State Theatre of North Carolina.

The story is about some rather unconventional princesses attending a reform school to make them better at being "princessly".  The underlying story revolves around the self-acceptance of girls while navigating societal expectations and pressures.

My kids were on the older side for these CDs.  My daughter, who does a fair amount of snubbing societal expectations for girls, would have loved Princess Reform School around the age 8 or 9. Even so, she still claimed the Princess Reform School was "cute" and proceeded to tell me the names of several younger girls that she thought would love it.  It also isn't so girly that boys can't enjoy it, though it wouldn't be my first choice for boys. My son dubbed it a "chick flick", but I also noticed that he chose to listen to it over lunch rather than stick his nose in a Star Wars book. I plan to give The Fairytale Collection to my 5-year-old niece to enjoy.  She's the perfect age for this CD.

What I liked the most about both CDs was simply the performance of the kids.  They were exceptional and the CDs were very professionally done.  And I have a sense that the whole cast tremendously enjoyed producing the CDs. With one child who is about all things theater and performing, it was fun to listen to these imaginative stories done entirely by kids.

There are sample tracks available on the 6 Pence Players website, where you can also make a purchase of both titles.

Disclaimer: I received both CDs free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

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