Thursday, July 18, at 2 p.m., the O. Henry literary classic “The Ransom of Red Chief” comes to life in this hilarious adaptation by Patricia Barry Rumble. This is the story of two crooks, Bill (Alan Gardiner-Atkinson) and Sam (Brandon Morgan) who plan a get-rich quick scheme to kidnap the very energetic child of a local banker. But they get a lot more — and a lot less — than they bargained for. Their 10-year-old victim, who refers to himself as an Indian named Red Chief (Nicholas Lewis), is barely missed. He is also exultant over having two playmates to tease, torment and awaken in the wee hours (audience participation encouraged).
Although faithful to O. Henry, the production, directed by Timothy Eric, acquires an emotional dimension by showing the parallel lives of Bill and Chief as neglected children. They even form a bond. Played out on a set designed by Booker McIntosh with costumes designed by Shirley Marks-Whitmore, this delightful production is full of twists and turns.
Express Children’s Theatre is Houston’s oldest and largest performing and arts education organization dedicated specifically to children and families. Port Arthur Public Library is at 4615 Ninth Ave. in Port Arthur.