KATS: "Alice and the Stolen Tarts"

The Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society will present this year's panto, "Alice and the Stolen Tarts," at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Kennett High School auditorium.

We visited a recent rehearsal to get a sneak preview.

The costumes are splendid -- we especially liked the Caterpillar (Katherine Casey, wearing John Lennon-style hippie glasses) and Humpty Dumpty (BJ Crampton). The Cheshire Cat (Beth Holladay) boasts an oversized grin illuminated by multicolored LED lights.

Alice is played by Jules Weiler, a senior at Avon Grove High School, and her maid, Mary Ann, is played by Kaitlyn Diehl from the University of Delaware.

In his first year with KATS, Stephen Ashby plays the cross-dressing Dame, one of the traditional figures of British panto. "I like it a lot," he said, batting his gigantic false eyelashes.

The villain this year is the Duchess of Spades, played by Lisa Teixeira (in real life the Kennett High School librarian). Her sidekick in evil is Lord Jabbers (Kris Gibbons). They were rehearsing "We're So Wicked" as we watched.

KATS regular Peter Giangiulio plays the King of Hearts, and of course there's a children's chorus. Director Chris Ramsey explained that at one point the children get "peppered" and turn into baby pigs.

The show was written by William Merrick and Hugh Sandison, with music by the two and Bill's wife, Judy. Music director, who was leading the cast in "Welcome to Wonderland" as rehearsal started, is Brenten Megee.

Ticket information for the show is available at the KATS website, callkats.org.

Lisa Teixeira as the Duchess of Spades and Kris Gibbons as Lord Jabbers rehearse "We're So Wicked." (Photo by Mark Delaney)

Jules Weiler plays Alice. (Photo by Mark Delaney)

SUPREME: Change of clothes

My brother was an airline pilot for many years, and he still dons a conservative uniform of sorts for work every day: neat khakis and a button-down shirt.

So imagine his surprise when he opened a UPS package to find three pieces of ultra-trendy streetwear from a Brooklyn company called Supreme, which, according to the Young Relative, is simply THE hip brand of the moment. The YR, impressed, pointed out that they were worth hundreds of dollars, and he knew friends who would buy them for resale in a heartbeat.

My brother texted me: Had I sent them as a joke?

Unfortunately, our amusement at the idea of my brother embracing Thug Life in Unionville was not to last. He has considerable street smarts (if not the accompanying garments) and immediately checked his credit card account online. Sure enough, there was a $784 charge for the clothing. He cancelled the card and notified the fraud department.

It's hard to figure out who benefits from this scheme.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Nothing changes

Like all Pennsylvania townships, the West Marlborough Board of Supervisors held a reorganization meeting this past week, but it was pro forma: William Wylie remains the board's chairman, with new father Jacob Chalfin as vice-chairman. Supervisor Hugh Lofting Sr. remains the roadmaster and emergency management coordinator. Shirley Walton remains the township secretary/treasurer.

Township meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, except for November: due to a conflict with the general election, the meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 4. The planning commission meets at 7 p.m., followed by the supervisors.

The township planning commission's reorganization meeting was equally uneventful: Tom Brosius remains chairman, with Tom Roosevelt as vice-chairman and Emery Jones as secretary.

Both the supervisors and the planning commission reviewed a plan by the Stroud Water Research Center on Spencer Road to build a pavilion. Executive Director David Arscott said it would provide a covered space for outdoor education programs and events.

The township meeting hall/garage in Doe Run Village.

KENNETT: New Year's Eve

Determined to show that we are still able to stay up past 10 p.m. (OK, with the help of a nap and coffee), Dearest Partner and I spent a soggy New Year's Eve with his #2 son, a newly minted Diplomate of the American Board of Radiology who was visiting from Asheville, North Carolina. We caught up with him over a wonderful sushi dinner and were hugely impressed to learn that he has paid off his grad school loans. Now all he has to do is cope with the skyrocketing real-estate prices in that hip town.

After dinner, at 9:30 we drove into Kennett, where we stopped at (1) Lars and Linda Farmer's annual bash, (2) the Garage youth center, where the Funsters were jamming, (3) the Kennett Brewing Company (which was packed), and (4) a party in a church basement.

By that time it was 11:45 p.m. and time for the Mushroom Drop. The mist and drizzle made the lasers sparkle as they shot west along State Street.

Attendance was smaller than in prior years because of the rain, but frankly, I didn't mind the weather at all: it was warm, and I was wearing a substantial waterproof hat.

The small crowd meant that there was no delay getting out of town.

NOTTINGHAM: Nature and history

On Dec. 29 we enjoyed a winter walk through the 651-acre Nottingham County Park in the far southwest part of the county.

We parked at McPherson Lake just as another couple was getting out of their car next to us.

"You're gonna need your coat," I said to the Dearest Partner. The woman in the next car thought I was talking to her and replied, "Oh, I know; it's in the trunk!"

We took the wet Feldspar Trail to the "Mystery Hole" and another smaller abandoned quarry, then followed the Buck Trail downhill to the ruins of a chromite ore processing plant along Black Run that was built during World War I. All that's left of the plant are some concrete foundation piers and an overgrown pile of tailings (with "no horseback riding" signs prominently placed on the pile).

We noticed a lot of cut-down trees in a few places in the park and learned that there's a tree harvest going on.

On the way to the park we took a meandering route and went through the Linton Stevens Covered Bridge over the picturesque Big Elk Creek. The 102-foot-long bridge was built in 1886. We couldn't help noticing how many roads down that way are named after the Elk Creek, either the Big one or the Small one.

BOOK SALE: Neighborhood pickup

The annual Used Book Sale organized by the Unionville High School PTO is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 22 (from 4 to 9 p.m.) and Saturday, Feb. 23 (from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the "bag sale" from 2 to 4 p.m.) in the UHS gymnasium. (Snow dates are March 1 and 2.)

Neighborhood book pickup will be on Jan. 19 (snow date is Jan. 26); donors are asked to leave their bags of books at the end of their driveway by 9 a.m. If your neighborhood isn't included in the pickup (see UHSBookSale.org for a list), you can drop off donations during school hours at any of the schools from Tuesday, Jan. 22, through Friday, Feb. 15. There will also be a drop-off box behind the high school starting Saturday, Jan. 19.

KENNETT FLASH: Funding update

In his introduction to singer/songwriter Francis Dunnery on Dec. 28, Kennett Flash manager Andrew Miller talked about what's new at the performance venue, located on Sycamore Alley behind La Verona in downtown Kennett.

He said he was pleased to announce that the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts has committed to provide some funding for shows for the next five years. Andrew is the only full-time employee, and he emphasized that donations and volunteers are very welcome as the income from ticket sales doesn't cover all of their expenses. He also said they're starting a music-related film series and trying to do more outreach to community groups.

Write to Tilda at uvilleblogger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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