Friday, July 18, 2014

Review of Emerald City Theatre's Charlotte's Web at the Broadway Playhouse

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Charlotte's Web. It was based on the book by E. B. White, adapted by Joseph Robinette, and it was directed by Ernie Nolan. It was about a runt named Wilbur (Liam Dahlborn) who was a very smart pig, well he was smarter than most pigs. He could talk to a spider and he could spell some. Because he is a runt, the man who owns him (Jeremy Pfaff) wants to kill him because he won't grow up to be a prize-winning pig or a pig they are able to sell. But then his daughter Fern (Avery Moss) says that she will take care of him and feed him. Then they can't take care of him anymore so they asks Fern's Uncle Homer (Casey Morris) to take care of him. The problem in the play is that Fern's Uncle Homer might want to turn him into bacon, but then Wilbur makes friends with a spider named Charlotte (Tosha Fowler), and he thinks "everything's going his way." Like in Oklahoma. It is about friendship, hope, how words can save somebody's life, and the rights of pigs. This is a very pig-triotic play.

I think I would have had a lot more fun at this show if not for the people sitting behind us. The problem was that the people sitting behind us did not really know how to control their children. I wouldn't object to kids talking about the show, if their parents reminded them to whisper. And it's adorable when they say something out loud about the show like "Go, Charlotte!" or "I love you, Wilbur." But these kids were doing physical things like throwing their blanket-with-a-head two rows in front of them and then not being sorry when the person picked it up and handed it back to them. They were also kicking my seat like crazy! When you take your kid to the theater, advise them before about how they are not allowed to yell or throw or play during the show. It disturbs everyone around them! And tell them to whisper to you if they want to leave, or have a question, or need to go to the bathroom. Adults need to do this too, but I think adults will remember the rules more.

I think that Charlotte is a great character. I liked her in the book and I liked her in this. I thought this actress did a great job at kind of being the leader of all the farm animals. Even though she might be the smallest, she was the most trustworthy. She is kind of like a smartypants, but she is a good kind of smartypants. She likes to make friends and she doesn't think everybody doesn't deserve to be friends with her because they are dumber than her. I also really liked the part at the beginning of the book and the play when she says "Salutations!" but I wish that, like in the book, the script had made her say that more. I also really liked how Charlotte was a spider-woman more than a spider; I liked that because it made it seem different from the book. I usually don't like that, but this made a good change. I think that she was not over-the-top because she always seemed like the character, but she also was never under what she should be because Charlotte is a really calm character.

Templeton (Erik Strebig) I thought was a very funny character. I like how they brought the 50s kind of into his costume (by Alarie Hammock) like how he had the Mickey Mouse hat. I thought that was pretty funny. Templeton kind of moved like the rat in the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, only he was less evil. It was similar because when he moved he would snap his fingers, but he didn't do the "ahhh" sound. When he came back from the fair the next morning, he had been eating all night and all day, and he kind of seemed like he was drunk, but on food and soda pop. I also liked it when Templeton came back from getting the final word; he sang this little song about how "It's a rat's paradise!" and he had a big lollipop that he did a dance with. I thought it was hilarious.

I really liked the scene where the mother and daughter at the fair (Laura A. Harrison and Lily Dahlborn) went over and looked at Wilbur and said, how cute that little pig was and how he might be the prizewinner. But then Uncle (Jay Mast), who is a pig wearing a leather jacket and sucking on a toothpick, comes over and is like making really weird movements at the girl and her mother, like twirling his fingers and pointing them like guns and clicking. And then the mother is kind of like, "Come on dear, let's go." I thought it was funny because of the way she registered what the pig was doing, but what he was doing was also very funny.

People who would like this show are people who like pigs in leather jackets, mickey mouse hats, and pig-triotic shows. People will enjoy this show because it is funny, bittersweet, and the costumes are great. If I were Charlotte the word that I would put on my web for this show would be "Some Play"!

Photos: Tom McGrath

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of Seussical the Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Seussical the Musical. It was directed by Scott Weinstein, musical direction by Michael Mahler, and the music was by Stephen Flaherty and the lyrics were by Lynn Ahrens. It was about a Girl (Emily Chang) who found this hat and then she picked it up and an entire orchestra started. And then this Cat in the Hat (Alex Goodrich) came up to her and told her about her imagination and what they can do about it--in a good way. Then he tells her the story of Horton (George Andrew Wolff), Gertrude McFuzz (Lillian Castillo), and Mayzie La Bird (Cory Goodrich) and the Whos (Ericka Mac, Aaron Holland, and Chang). I really liked how they were all put together in one story. The relationships between the characters were different because they were not in the same context as in the original stories, but they still worked really well. They changed it, but not in the way where they added new characters, which I don't like, but in the way where they put different characters from different stories together. Like Shrek or Into the Woods. Seeing this show brought back funny and good memories because it was the first show I saw at Chicago Shakespeare when I was only 2 years old. Back then, I didn't really like the slow songs, so I left quietly after tapping my mom very politely after "All for You" because two slow songs in a row were not exactly my piece of cake. But now I like slow songs much better, and I loved this show because I really love the Dr. Seuss stories and I had so much fun seeing this show again!

I really liked the song "Oh the Thinks You Can Think" because I still remember the tune to it and I still remember the lyrics. It was very catchy. This song is about everything you can think of and how you should love your imagination. Don't think of it as a burden; think of it as something to be proud of. I liked how it was performed because it introduced you to all the characters. I think it is a great opening because it is kind of like the Girl is thinking of the Cat in the Hat and all these different characters and Dr. Seuss and all the thinks that she can think. That is really cool because when you see these people you know who they are because most people have read the Dr. Seuss books, so you are like, "There's Horton; there's the Cat in the Hat; there's Gertrude McFuzz." I thought the actress who played Jojo and the Girl did a great job. She was very expressive (but she wasn't too too happy all the time) and I like that in an actress.

I thought it was funny how the Cat in Hat had a bunch of different outfits (costume design by Theresa Ham) instead of like one "Cat in the Hat" outfit. And he played different characters as the Cat in the Hat, like a doctor, a policeman, the Grinch, and Ira Glass. You are probably wondering why Ira Glass is in here since he is not a Dr. Seuss character. Just see it. I thought that Alex Goodrich did a great job at seeming very alive in this performance. He kind of seemed crazy, like the Cat in the Hat, but like the Cat in the Hat he was still lovable. He was not scary. When he was Ira Glass I thought that was hilarious, especially when he said, "Reporting from the Jungle of Nool." I also really liked it when he was the Louis Armstrong singer who was Mayzie's steaming hot bird boyfriend. He was like Louis Wingstrong. He had a hat and sunglasses and he sang "How Lucky You Are" in a Louis Armstrong kind of voice. I just can't believe how funny that was. I liked how they showed the band (Alan Bukowiecki, Jo Ann Daugherty, John Kornegay, Mike Pinto, Ethan Deppe, and Sean McNeely) to make it seem more like a night club. It was fun to have the band on stage because they could basically move around the band. You could see them and then you didn't if the time was not right to see them.

"Biggest Blame Fool" was a great song because it was very very catchy: I still have the line "talkin' to a speck, talkin' to a speck, to a speck" stuck in my head. I thought it was great how the Wickersham Brothers (Holland, Liam Quealy, and Joseph Sammour) were basically putting on a stunt show with their scooter and skateboard and roller-skates during this song; it made it more exciting and made it seem like they were trying to impress Mayzie. That was part of the dancing (choreography by Tommy Rapley) and I thought all of the dancing was very exciting but never was it uncalled-for. It didn't seem like they would just break into song and dance for no reason; it seemed like they were having a conversation with dance and singing. I thought the Sour Kangaroo (Lisa Estridge) was amazing. She was very sassy and she also was an amazing singer. You are not really supposed to like the Sour Kangaroo but you can like the way the actress acted out this character. I also liked her little kangaroo in her exercise pouch. The little kangaroo was a puppet (designed by Lolly Extract and Amber Marsh).

I thought that all of the birds were great characters. I liked how the Bird Girls (Mac, Allison Sill, and Krystal Worrell) were basically the backup singers of Mayzie. I thought that Mayzie was a very very expressive character. I liked how she was the most popular bird in all the Jungle of Nool. You wouldn't really want to be friends with her because she would ask you to sit on some boyfriend of her's egg. But you still like that character because she was a funny character. I thought that Getrude was basically the opposite of Mayzie because she was not the glamorous bird. She was more like a humble little bird who like-liked an elephant who everyone thought was insane, so everyone thought that she was crazy. But Horton would never notice her, so she had some troubles. I feel like it is neither of their faults. Horton has something going on and Gertrude just wants some company because nobody pays attention to her. You really want them to get together throughout the entire show and then…well you will just have to see the show!

People who would like this show are people who like Dr. Seuss, Louis Armstrong Birds, and This American Life. I think that people should definitely go and see this show because it is funny, the acting is expressive, and the singing is great. I really liked this show and I think it is great to bring some of Dr. Seuss's greatest idea into one big show!

Photos: Michael Brosilow

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review of Brigadoon at Goodman Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Brigadoon. It was directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell and the book and lyrics were by Alan Jay Lerner and the music was by Frederick Loewe. It is about a man named Tommy Albright (Kevin Earley) who was on a hunting trip with his friend Jeff Douglas (Rod Thomas) in Scotland. And then they find this little town called…Brigadoon! Then Tommy meets a girl named Fiona (Jennie Sophia) but then, even though he is getting married and the hunting party is a hunting bachelor party, he falls in love. But all that Jeff wants to do is go home. But they have come on the right day because it is the wedding of Fiona's sister Jean (Olivia Renteria), and who doesn't like weddings? Jeff. He just tries to make the worst of everything in this place so he can go home and have a martini. A cool thing about Brigadoon is that every day is a hundred years later. In the outside world, a hundred years have passed. A stalactite experiment would grow in a day instead of tedious weeks. This show is about love, time-travel (sort of), and Scots people.

I liked some of the ideas of the play, but I didn't think the writing of the play was all that good. The two leads didn't really have to do anything except act like they were in love, so it was not a very exciting thing. I think that the two lead performers sing very beautifully, but I was hoping that the play would also invite more acting. You don't care about the romance that much because you kind of get bored of it--they are sort of too much in love for you to keep understanding it. They aren't really in love for a reason; they are just in love.

The director/choreographer made the big singing and dancing numbers have more acting and made it seem more exciting to watch. Even if a character didn't have a name, they seemed like they were full characters because of the way they acted. There was a husband and you knew that that other person was his wife. Or there were best friends or things like that. I really liked the song "Down in MacConnachy Square" because I really liked all the dance numbers that went with the story of the song. This is the song that introduces you to the people of Brigadoon. They seem like they are a very chipper town. They had a bad time in the war, but it seems like everyone got over it.

I really liked the character Harry (Rhett Guter) because he had a complicated story and it was fun to figure out what had happened and pick up on the ideas of what he's been through. He is very sad that his true love Jean is getting married, but she doesn't love him so that makes him very angry and sad. I really liked the sword dance because it was really exciting. When I looked in the program, I saw there was going to be a funeral, and then I thought, is someone going to get his foot chopped off with a sword while they are sword dancing and then bleed to death? I had never seen actual sword dancers before and I thought the men (William Angulo, Guter, Jamy Meek, and Malachi Squires) who were doing it were very good. A sword dance is a bunch of people hopping around swords trying not to touch the swords.

I thought that Charlie (Jordan Brown) was a great character to have. He seemed like he was very happy to get married to Jean even though he still wanted all the ladies. But then there were sometimes where he would be like, "Don't look at me so romantically; I'm getting married!" which I kind of felt like was a little bit mean, but he was still a great character to have because he is comic relief but he is also kind of like the lover. He likes the woman he is going to marry, but he is still kind of a cheeky beggar. I thought that Jean was an amazing dancer. She put a lot of story into her dancing which I think is great.

The milkmaid is always the flirty one in most stories, and that was very true here. I thought that Meg (Maggie Portman) was a great instance of comic relief because she was very sassy and I really like sassy characters. I really liked the seducing song "Love of My Life" that Meg sings to Jeff to try to seduce him but he just wants to have a nap. She didn't understand that he was being literal. He just kept trying to go to sleep while she sang him a song about how she has been looking for her true love all her life but they keep running away. Both of them are funny in that scene because he is trying to go to sleep and she is trying to climb on the tiny tiny bed.

People who would like this show are people who like sword dancing, weddings, and comedic characters. I think people should go see this show because it is funny, suspenseful, and the singing and dancing are amazing. I would definitely go back just to see the dancing! When people go and see this show, wear a kilt!

Photos: Liz Lauren

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review of Hamlet at Oak Park Festival Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Hamlet. It was directed by Lavina Jadhwani and the play was by William Shakespeare. It was adapted by Doug Finlayson and Lavina Jadhwani. It is about a man named Hamlet (Michael McKeogh) whose father (Will Clinger) had died and his mother Gertrude (Kelly Lynn Hogan) got married to his father's brother Claudius (Jack Hickey) and he was not very happy about that because he felt like his mom never actually loved his dad. Even though this show is about revenge, love, and hate, it is still a fun show; I like how the story was set in the jazz age because I love jazz music and it was a very complicated time. It is also a time when there were a lot of little secret clubs for people who wanted to drink alcohol when it was not legal. I also liked how it was set in a hotel.

I liked how Horatio (Michael Pogue) was basically the storyteller of the entire play. I mean like how he introduced the play with his lines from the end of the play about what has happened here and he's telling Fortinbras about it. But there is no Fortibras in this production, so he is telling basically the audience as if he is putting on a play about it. I liked this actor because I could always understand what he was saying and you really felt that he actually felt sadness from Hamlet's and Ophelia's deaths. You kind of felt like he was telling you the story. He was kind of making his own version of "All the world's a stage" because he was saying, this is a play and I will tell you the story of what has happened to me and my best friend and that it is true.

I liked the actor's choices about what kind of a person Hamlet was. He was so sad about his father's death that he turns himself into a drunk. He is drinking a lot, and breaking the law, and going crazy. He is a distressed and distraught man. And when he sees Horatio again he feels happier. And when he sees his father he feels even happier, but then he sees that he needs revenge and that makes him angry and he feels like he needs to get that revenge to live. I felt that he did really love Ophelia (Sara Pavlak) but he just didn't know how to show that he loved her. I think he is not really mad at her, he is more mad at himself and just generally mad. When he finds out she is dead he is really sad because he really did love her but one of the last things he said to her was "Go to a nunnery and I hate you."

I thought that Rosencrantz (Matthew Gall) and Guildenstern (Luke Daigle) were kind of drunks, because they always were carrying around a flask and finding places to fill it up, and I think that is a fun way to portray them. You never really think of them like that. I also thought that worked with the time period really well. The coin flipping I thought was a great reference to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And I also liked how they saw Hamlet as like their best friend and when they met him again he was a big weirdo and you could see that in their faces and I thought that was good.

I thought that the players (Jhenai Mootz, Will Clinger, Sean Kelly) in this were great characters, I think because they were different from other Hamlets that I have seen. They were different because even though the rest of the play was not in Elizabethan times, they put on an Elizabethan play. You could tell because of their clothing and the way they talked. I thought it was funny when Hamlet was talking to Polonius (Michael Joseph Mitchell) like a crazy person but he didn't seem to be crazy around the players. I think it was because he didn't want to seem crazy around the players because he needed their help to make his uncle feel pain and be scared. Polonius is trying not to act scared and weirded out like when Hamlet has stuck his head beneath Polonius' coattails. I liked that choice, how Polonius was kind of scared of the King and Hamlet because he felt if he didn't do everything right he thought the King would have him executed or something like that. He doesn't want the King to think he is making his stepson like this, so he decides to try to play along with Hamlet.

I really believed it when Laertes (Michael Mercier) found out that Ophelia had died; I really felt for him. I liked how they changed his duel with Hamlet to boxing (violence designed by R&D Choreography), but I didn't really like how he brought in a knife halfway through the fight. I think they should have just chosen one. I think that he feels like he serves the King until Hamlet stabs him and then he is angry at Hamlet but he is also the only person he wants to talk to at this moment that he's dying: Hamlet and not the King. I liked the special effects blood; I thought that was very good.

People who would like this show are people who like jazz, Shakespeare, and storytelling. I really liked how this show was outside and that makes this a very fun show to be at. It is different than a lot of other Hamlets that there are, so if you want to see a new kind of Hamlet, go and see this!

Photos: Johnny Knight

Monday, June 30, 2014

Review of Assassins by Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Assassins. It was directed by Rachel Edwards Harvith. The book was by John Weidman and the music and lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim. The music direction was by Kory Danielson. It was about all the assassins of presidents getting together and Booth (Eric Lindahl) was basically the leader of them all. There was a Proprietor (Jeff Meyer) who was at this booth (ba-dump shh, get it?) and was selling guns and telling people to come and shoot a president. And then they take his advice and go to shoot a president. I really liked this show. I thought that it was very sad but at the same time very scary but at the same time sort of funny. I think that this show is educational and it also makes you kind of realize what it was like to be those people. Some of them do it because they are crazy and some of them do it because no one pays attention to them and some of them do it for love which is not exactly love and some of them do it because they have a stomachache. Some of them do it because they don't feel like the president is doing enough for their people. It is okay to write a mean letter to the president saying I think you need to work more on these issues because you are making me angry, but you should not just go and decide to kill them.

I really liked the John Wilkes Booth song. I thought it was very very very catchy. I even want to download it on iTunes. I thought the Balladeer (Cole Doman) was a great singer because his voice was just perfect for this. It was kind of a country song. He seemed not sympathetic to any of the assassins at all because of the tone in his voice. I also liked how it told a lot about John Wilkes Booth. I know some about him and his life and this made me learn some new things about him as well as see the things I already knew reenacted. After you see the play, you don't like Booth even more because he is basically the leader of all this and he basically makes everyone come and shoot a president. I think the actor did an amazing job; he reminded me of Jafar from Aladdin. He was very evil but he seemed very honest and was good at tempting people to kill presidents. He was the first one to actually do it.

I had never heard of Guiteau (Greg Foster) before but he seems like a very scary person if I met him on the street because of the way he looks at you with this kind of broad smile like he's known you for ages. I think the actor did a great job with that. He wanted to be ambassador to France and he thought he was one of the most famous authors even though he wasn't a very famous author. I've never read his book. It could have been great, but he was too much of an optimist. He was a optioptimist. He thought everything was going to be great, but actually it is not great. He kills Garfield and is hanged.

I felt very sympathetic to Zangara (Alex Heika) because he always had this stomachache and he had tried everything to get rid of it, but nothing worked. I thought the actor did a great job with the accent. I think that Zangara felt like no one ever appreciated him and that he was alone. The song made that shown because all these people were like, "Thank goodness I was there to save Roosevelt." But he was like "I wasn't there to save Roosevelt, but I tried to kill him and then I didn't get any attention." But then he got attention from the police!

Byck (Jason Richards) is one of the characters that you feel the most sympathetic for. His hobby is basically to talk to people through tapes and tell them to write more love songs. Then he tells this guy on the the tape they will know about him soon. That made me realize that all he wants is to be famous. He just doesn't know what he's doing; he doesn't realize what he is getting into. Me and my mom looked on the internet and saw that he shot a pilot and copilot on the plane so then he could crash it into the White House and try to kill Nixon. They don't tell you that in the musical, though, so he just seems like a helpless guy.

There were three people who did the assassination for Love: Fromme (Allison Hendrix)., Czolgosz (Patrick Byrnes) who was in love with Emma Goldman (Neala Barron) and Hinckley (Michael Potsic) who was in love with a movie star. They each wanted to impress the people that they were in love with. You don't feel as sorry for the guy who actually kills the president (Czolgosz) because he seems like he is more evil because he is more smart. Hinckley just seems kind of mental. He doesn't know this woman but he knows he is in love with her, which is kind of like a Disney movie when they meet and fall in love as soon as they lay eyes on one another. Only this was even a badder way to start a relationship because they haven't even met but he knows he is in love with her because of her beauty.

I thought that both of the girls seemed not insane-asylum crazy. Not like they would just kill anyone. But they still seemed crazy but I understood why Fromme did it, sort of: because she missed her boyfriend and thought he would be proud of her when he got out of jail. I think that Allison seemed into her role in a good way. She made me believe she wanted to murder someone. Moore (Barron) was a mother, a pet owner, and an attempted assassin of Ford too. Three of my favorite things--except for the assassin part. I thought it was funny when Moore accidentally shot her dog. It was not a real dog; it was just such an unrealistic dog that it was hilarious. Then she seemed so unfazed that she just shot her dog; like it was an everyday experience. I think both of them have funniness to them because they are both so bad at trying to kill someone because they are so clueless. You couldn't actually laugh at them if they actually did kill Ford because that would make them worse people. They were amazing comic relief.

The last president assassination in the play is the assassination of President Kennedy. This is the only one that is not really realistic because Booth comes to his work and tells Oswald (Nathan Gardner) to go and shoot Kennedy. And then everyone who has ever assassinated or attempted to assassinate a president comes and is like, "Please assassinate the president…for us" because the other people who did the exact same thing were all connected and wanted the same thing: they wanted basically another friend. It is very farfetched, I have to say that, but it kind of makes you happy for some reason because they are people who wanted to have friends, who wanted to be noticed, who wanted to be a part of something. And then the assassinations of the presidents actually did something. It doesn't make them seem worthwhile, but they got what they wanted. They are not alone.

I thought that the live music was an awesome aspect of this. It really makes the experience more alive for you. I like the idea that it was basically a run-down carnival. I think the carnival kind of represented the assassins; they are run-down too. I liked the ladder part of the set (designed by Zachary Gipson) and how there was basically a little platform there so it was basically like the place people wanted to go. Some people made it and some people didn't. I also liked how there was this Ferris wheel with the presidents' faces on it. That was basically like the counting down of who had been assassinated. And then when people didn't assassinate there was a big AAANNN!

People who would like this show are people who like America, complicated relationships, and unrealistic pet deaths. People should definitely go see this show because it is educational, the singing is amazing, and it helps you understand what it would be like to be one of these people. This was different than any other musical I've seen. I felt very involved with the characters and like I was actually reliving these people's stories. You feel kind of scared at the end; if you were going to run for president, and you see this show, you would not want to be president. But it is still a great experience because it is like the best way to learn history.

Photos: Joshua Albanese Photography

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review of Monstrous Regiment at Lifeline Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Monstrous Regiment. It was directed by Kevin Theis and it was adapted by Chris Hainsworth based on the novel by Terry Pratchett. It was about a girl named Polly (Sarah Price) who dressed up like a boy to be in the army and changed her name to Oliver. She met many different people: a troll named Carborundum (Justine C. Turner), and a vampire named Maladict (Michaela Petro), and two best friends named Tonker (Kim Boler) and Lofty (Mandy Walsh), an Igor named Igor (Katie McLean Hainsworth) and a boy who loved the duchess very much named Wazzer (Melissa Engle), a very cruel corporal named Strappi (John Ferrick) and a very crazy Lieutenant named Blouse (Robert Kauzlaric) and the nicest Sergeant ever named Jackrum (Christopher M. Walsh). Those are the people in the monstrous regiment. It is called the monstrous regiment because there are monsters in it and there are girls in it. The men think it is monstrous that the girls have joined the army. It is about the rights of women and friendship and disguise. I l-o-v-e-d this show so very very much. I really like shows where the women have a very big part in it. And two shows ago at Lifeline there were no women in the show. That was called Killer Angels. I liked that show a lot, but there are a lot of shows where there are a lot of men and not so many women. This show just made me very happy. It just did.

I loved all the monsters. I liked it when Maladict was craving coffee and they put on that special make-up that had splotches and lines around his eyes to make him look very distressed. I loved how he always looked like he was hyperventilating. One of my favorite lines that he said was, "If I don't have coffee, my old craving will come back. And you don't want that to happen. Do you?" I think that Maladict was one of my favorite characters in the play. I think Michaela does a good job playing vampires because she makes vampires not seem like evil jerks. She makes them seem like if they don't get coffee they will get very angry, but otherwise they're sweethearts.

I think Justine C. Turner is great at the role of Carborundum because she just is hilarious. In real life she is not at all like the character, not even the slightest bit. The character is kind of clueless, very very tall, and very very rocky. And Justine is none of those things, but she just makes this character seem so great and amazing that I remember almost every single line she said. Like, "So, we fight for stupidity because of our stupidity because it is our stupidity!" She was very expressive. Whenever someone said something she would react to it as the character. When you look at her face you understand that she is not understanding, and I loved that.

Igor I think is just a great character and I think Katie Hainsworth made this character even more lovable. She had a very good lisp and she was very into her character. She was like Igor from Young Frankenstein only less weird, but also funny. Spoiler alert: I thought it was really funny when Igor dressed up as a goth girl when she needed to be a washerwoman. It didn't look like a washerwoman at all, but she sure did look like a girl!

I liked it when Polly dressed up as a girl (again) because there was an invasion. And troopers came in and started asking her questions like, "Why is your hair so short?" I thought it was really cool when then she started fighting with the Zlobenian captain (Matt Engle) and he was all like, "Oooh. You are a good fighter I see!" He was basically making fun of her. And then she kicked him in the meat and veg. I think that was awesome because that really showed him how a woman could fight and wasn't all like, "Oooo. I'm a beautiful maiden! Climb up my beautiful blond hair and rescue me!" Sometimes there are stories where girls dress as boys because they want to have the rights. I liked how this was a completely new kind of girl story because she didn't just join because she wanted to be a boy or a hero. She fights as a girl. She's proud to be a girl, she's not like, "I wish I wasn't a girl." She doesn't want to change who she is; she doesn't want to change who women are; she just wants to change what they can do.

Lofty and Tonker's relationship was very easy. There was nothing else. They loved each other and they were great friends. I liked how they were very different from each other, but they always stuck together. One of them was very quiet and very "innocent" (put that in quotes as Blouse would say) and the other was very hard core. They are trying to take revenge on people who weren't nice to them. I would like it better if they sent a rude note or stole their money instead of, well, destroying their things. It doesn't make as good a story to send a rude note, so I guess it was a good idea. But if it was real life, I wouldn't have chosen that path

There was this time when they needed to dress up as washerwomen to get into The Keep. Dun dun daaa! Jackrum and Polly were talking to Blouse and then Blouse had "his own" "idea" to dress up as washerwomen which was totally "not" Polly's idea. Then he decides that no one else has any "practice" especially not Polly, so he shall do it as an old woman or a young girl who has a very high voice. Like very screeching. Which is just. wrong. I thought it was fun-larious when Blouse came out and said, "Hello. I'm Daphne." I just wanted to burst out laughing for the next seven hours. But then I would have missed Assassins that night. (Look for my review. It will come out soon!) I thought it was really funny when Jackrum started basically snickering (in kind of a girly-like manner) about Daphne. Which just makes me laugh. Then Polly starts snickering, and basically the snickering just spreads. And soon everyone is snickering. Blouse does not notice. He is too into his "character." I am using all these quotation marks for the happiness of Blouse because he loves quotation marks.

I thought it was really funny but also really scary when Jackrum said, "These are not boys" because you thought that he knew that they were not boys indeed. The audience, everyone froze. And then he said, "These are my lads." And everyone was just going through relief because he hadn't said, "These are girls." I liked Jackrum a lot; he was the nicest sergeant because he was not just like "hup two three four!" He treated every single one of them like family. He is a mean nice guy. He likes to fight, but he doesn't like to fight people that he knows and he loves.

I think that Wazzer is a great character because she is not like any other character in this entire show. Like no one. She basically guides everyone. When she says that the Duchess says something there is no time where it does not help. There is the ghost of the Duchess watching over all them. Wazzer is very very religious and she believes everything and it turns out to be true. But the Nuggan thing is not true. The play doesn't like the idea that religion would tell people what they can't do. Nuggan has all these things that are abominations unto Nuggan, like theatre or girls dressing up as boys or painting anything other than the Duchess. But the play likes Wazzer because she is not that kind of religious. She believes in the Duchess but not as a god, as a friend.

People who would like this show are people who like trolls, women, and coffee. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show because you will have such a great time. It is funny, feminist, and exciting. I think this show should be for ages 7 and up. I loved this show so much; everyone should go and see this.

Photos: Kelsey Jorissen

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review of Exit Strategy at Jackalope Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Exit Strategy. It was written by Ike Holter and it was directed by Gus Menary. It was about a school called Tumbledon which was shutting down and one of their teachers, Pam (Barbara Figgins), makes a tough decision to leave the school. (You will understand what I mean better when you see it.) And nothing has gone right after she has left. There are secrets that all the teachers have been keeping and they all come out. They are trying to make the school not have to shut down and most of them have the same idea to save it, but some of them--by that I mean one of them--has a different idea. It is about friendship, having to let go of someone you love, and protesting.

I thought that the first scene was a good way to start it because it really told the story from the beginning so they didn't have to have a flashback. I don't really like flashbacks in plays like this that are supposed to be very realistic. I thought it was sad how Pam basically made a new friend, Ricky (Patrick Whalen), right before she left. That made it feel even worse because you thought, "Now she's made a new friend! Yay!" because she is always very crabby. But then she goes and leaves the school forever. I thought it was funny in that scene how they were very angry at each other and near the end they were like, "Hi." "Hi." I liked it when Ricky bought a cake from Jewel and then brought a full big old cake. And she's yelling at him and she says, "I did have a piece of the cake. It was very good." It was just an immediate change in the character and then going back to the yelling. Then she started going crazy singing the theme song for their school. I thought the song was kind of hilarious because she just started bursting out in clapping and jumping up and down. I think the playwright uses humor in this scene so at the end it will be a big boom.

Arnold (HB Ward) I think is a very troubled person. Ever since Pam left he has just been a gloomy gus. He tells Donnie (Jerry MacKinnon) to give up because he feels like its already gone. There is nothing to do about it. He is basically a villain but not a villain. He is like in peril. He is so sad about Pam leaving that he doesn't know what to think about. He is the opposite of comic relief. He is sadness non-relief. He is the person you feel sorry for throughout the play and he basically knows what to do, he knows if the plan to save the school will work. He is almost never happy except when Pam is there and you don't ever see that.

I liked the relationship between Luce (Danny Martinez) and Ricky because these two people are so different from each other except them both working at a school. Now that I think it about it, they kind of reminded me of Ricky and Lucy on I Love Lucy. Because of their names and because of the relationship they have which is that Luce is very open and Ricky is very like "No! No! No! That's weird. I'm a business-like man!" I would have liked it if the relationship could have gone a little bit better because then I think they could have been very happy together.

Sadie (Lucy Sandy) seemed very nice because she wanted the kids to like her and she gave them juice boxes, pencils, and notebooks. Luce seemed to like the juice boxes very well! I liked how she was like the nicest of all the teachers. If I went to school, I would want her to be my teacher. She hates Donnie at first because he has been misbehaving so much in class, but then he turns out to be one of the new school employees. So now instead of him being the person who is being bad in her class, he is now her fellow worker. At first she doesn't like him being an employee like her, but when the protesting starts she starts to like him more.

Jania (Paloma Nozicka) reminded me of my aunt, only my aunt is nicer. My aunt works in sort of the same job, like she helps troubled students and Jania helps mentally disabled students. They both help students that are having problems or have problems. I thought her character at first seemed like the snotty teenager, but once you get to know her character, she starts to be nice. Like when she gets champagne for the teachers, even though before she would just glare at them. When they were drinking champagne, Donnie said "I'll go and get the camera crew" and they all said, "No!" And he said, "To film the screaming crowd not the teachers drinking on the job!"

I loved the character of Donnie. He is the funniest character in the entire play. He kind of reminds me of the characters in Monty Python who are schoolboys but also surgeons and poetry artists because he is a teenager and he works at a school already. I think he was an influence on Ricky and Ricky was and influence on him. Donnie helps Ricky learn how to be funny and be a rapper. And Ricky teaches Donnie to never give up until he has been defeated completely. It made me angry and sad when Donnie was talking about having to ask for toilet paper to go to the bathroom.

People who would like this show are people who like funniness, sadness, and juice boxes. People should definitely go and see this show. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and you learn that it is not always easy to save something that you are proud of. But if you might be able to save it, try because the people who tried had new friends. But there is also a downside to it. You might lose some friends in the process. I loved this show because all the actors are really great and the writing is amazing.

Photos: Ryan Bourque