The story about immortals is a nice family break from holiday fare

Somehow, I’d never gotten around to reading Tuck Everlasting (the 1975 book), or seen the 2002 movie. “But mom, you bought it for me,” protested my daughter. “Didn’t you read it?”

No, but now that I’ve seen the play, I’d like to.

The story is magical. Literally, in that it’s about a family that drinks from a magic spring and gains eternal life, but also in the more figurative sense. There’s a forest full of dancing … fairies? that serves as a backdrop for the story of a young girl who runs away from home looking for adventure and finds the eternally youthful Tuck family. Now playing at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora in a regional premiere directed by Michael O’Shea, this Tuck Everlasting is a fun, magical show for the whole family.

The story begins with the Tuck family drinking from the spring as they travel to their new home in New Hampshire in 1805, then quickly cuts to 1893, where young Winnie Foster is plotting to convince her mother to let her go to the fair that is coming to town. Winnie’s father has been dead for nearly a year, and she feels trapped in their home, stifled in her black mourning clothes.

When Winnie’s mother refuses, Winnie impulsively follows a toad into the forest and comes upon Jesse Tuck, forever 17 years old. Jesse warns her not to drink the water from the spring, but can’t resist taking her on a bit of an adventure. When the rest of his family discovers them, they kidnap Winnie and take her to their home in the woods while they decide what to do next.

They end up trusting her with their secret, and she learns that the Tuck family doesn’t age. Jesse suggests that Winnie return to her home the next day, but that she take a bottle from the spring to drink when she, too, turns 17. That way, they can travel the world together, forever young.

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