Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review of Mr. Chickee's Funny Money at Chicago Children's Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Mr. Chickee's Funny Money. It was based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis and written by David Inger and the music and lyrics were by Lamont Dozier and Paris Dozier. It was directed by Derrick Sanders who also directed Bud, Not Buddy.It was about a kid named Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) and his two friends Richelle (Ashley Elizabeth Honore)and Russell (Travis Turner) and their dog friend Zoopy (Sam Deutsch). They have a club called the Flint Future Detectives and they are trying to solve the mystery of a quadrillion dollar bill and if it is real. People should go and see this show. It is a fun show even though it is not exactly like the book.

In the show they made a few changes from the book. I had one that I did like and one that I didn't like. The one that I didn't like was how they made Zoopy Mr. Chickee's dog instead of Russell's. I didn't like that because then Steven couldn't have Zoopy at the end. I thought the "Zoop! Zoop! Zoopy!" call didn't work either. It was too cheesy. They get Zoopy back in the book when he is thought to be a bear in the circus and he ate all of Steven's food. It made it more sad because you thought Steven was dreaming and Zoopy is really dead. And they don't just call him in the book. I liked how they put Richelle in to the club because she is actually in the book, but she didn't have as big a role. I liked it in the play because I thought there should be more girls in the story that have bigger parts. I think she was a cool character.

I thought that it was really funny how Russell was obsessed with peanut butter and was eating it every moment. When they were walking around, Richelle had a calculator (she called it a gal-culator), Steven had a magnifying glass, and Russell, you guessed it, peanut butter. The rap battle between Richelle and Steven was crazy in a good way. They were rapping and one of the biggest things Richelle said was, "You make Kanye look like Martin Luther King." That is one of the reasons that she won, because the audience went ooooh! Steven didn't have as many good rap lines, but he was a great rapper. It wasn't about how good you were but about how many good slams you had. So in the end Richelle won and walked away with her gal-culator.

There were three agents: Agent Fondoo (Brian Grey), Agent 3 (Travis Turner), and Agent 2 (Elena Marisa Flores). I thought that they were really hilarious and I liked it when Agent Fondoo started dancing because it was weird to have that at that moment, and it happened, and that was really funny. When the agents were doing their dance to "I'm on the Case," Agent 2 and Agent 3 were basically like the background dancers, and that was really funny. I liked it when at the end they were running around in and out of the market without noticing that the kids were just standing there staring at them.

The Zoopy puppet I thought was really big and really cool and really cute. The person who played Zoopy was also the puppet designer. He had to get in his own puppet! It didn't really seem like a real dog, but it was so cool. It was cool that it seemed like it was basically made out of mops. You could tell that he was really crazy because of his appearance.

The parents, Elmwood (Bear Bellinger) and Lynetta (Alexis J. Rogers), I thought were really funny. So the mom is doing yoga and the dad is like, sniff! "Someone is touching my records!" Like he can smell when someone is touching his records. And I thought that was really funny because people can't smell if someone is touching his records. I thought the mom was really funny because of how nice she was but when the dad said no to something she got really uptight and said, "Did you think this was a conversation? You are taking that boy out tomorrow!"

I think that Mr. Chickee (Yaw Agyeman) did a really good job at seeming old. I really liked the song "It's in the Music" where he talked about how much he liked music. I really like how he took off his coat and under that was the purple tuxedo. I thought that his singing seemed like an old man singing, but in a really good way. I think his character in the play was better than how he was in the book. Because here he seemed more part of the story rather than being like, "Here's the money. Goodbye" and walks away into the shadows mysteriously.

I loved how they made so many references to James Brown. I really liked it when Elmwood, Steven's dad, when they touched his James Brown records, he spun around and landed on one knee and put his hand on his head like he was trying to keep on a hat. And then when Steven got a few more of his records, his mom came on with a red sparkly cape and patted the dad on the back while he was pretend crying. That's like James Brown because that is like his biggest routine--the cape routine--and one of his most famous too. I thought that guy was good at doing the dance moves. He did it so fast that he did it almost as fast as James Brown!

People who would like this show are people who like James Brown, giant dogs, and peanut butter. People should go see this show because it is funny, makes you want to dance, and is good to go to with your family. This show makes you feel nice. Like sugar and spice! Aooow!

Photos: Chuck Osgood

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review of Number the Stars at Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Number the Stars. It was directed by Ernie Nolan and it was written Dr. Douglas W. Larche with Susan Elliott-Larche and it was based on the book by Lois Lowry. This show was performed by students of the Theater School at DePaul. I thought that this was a nice production and I think that the story is a very good one to adapt--I think it worked very well. It is about Annemarie (Alissa Sherwood) and Ellen (Alissa Walker) being friends and Annemarie saving Ellen from going to a concentration camp and how they became braver over the time of the story. I think it is an important story because it shows that people with different religions can still be friends with each other. I learned a lot from this show, like what it was like in Denmark in World War II and how everybody was treated badly by the soldiers, even soldiers to each other. I already knew a lot about World War II in general but I didn't know about all the countries that soldiers took Jews from. I think this show is about finding your inner bravery.

The set (by Elyse Balogh) was really cool. When you walk in, you think it might be for a grownup show, but it's not! I loved how the background was made out of chairs. I also liked how all the sets were rolled out and it was very silent rolling. That is something I like to see in a show. I liked how they had music on stage before the show. It accomplished keeping the school kids quiet. I thought that it was also cool to have it during the show. It was there when they were changing the set to keep people interested. It made whatever they were doing, going on a train or going outside, more interesting. And at one point they sing a song in the town about wanting to be free from the soldiers.

I thought that the part where Ellen and Annemarie were talking about how Annemarie's sister Lise (Fiona Garretson) died was a very sad part. Like if I had an older sister and she died I would feel very sad that I wouldn't be able to see her ever again. They didn't really know how she died, so that was really scary and sad. Annemarie was trying to keep the secret that she had been peeking at her sister's stuff from her parents because she thought they might get angry at her. I think she peeked because she wanted to remind herself of her sister because she missed her. This scene shows you that Ellen and Annemarie are best friends because of the things they tell each other.

There was a girl named Kirstie (Erinn Fredin) who was the little sister of Annemarie. She really likes princesses and pink cupcakes. She would have loved the story of Pinkalicious who ate too many cupcakes and turned pink. (It was like King Midas who wanted everything he touched to turn into gold.) I knew why she really liked to think about pink cupcakes: because she hadn't had a single sweet for a long time because of the war and all the soldiers were taking all their sugar and butter. I really feel like I am like the girls in the story because I like some of the things that kids at that time liked, like stories and cupcakes and Tivoli, which is an amusement park. Tivoli. I feel like it makes me understand the history of the story and the characters more.

The mom of Annemarie (Laura A. Harrison) seemed like a mom; not everybody can play a mom without being like, "I'm a mom! I'm a mom!" which is something people sometimes do. I liked how she seemed very like she was part of that world and she didn't seem like she was just acting like she was. I thought that the uncle (Brian Rife) wasn't very nice to the sister, but I think the actors did a good job convincing you that they were actually brother and sister.

There was this soldier (Nathan Simpson) who tried to stop Annemarie from getting her uncle's "lunch" to his boat. And then they were making these comments about women and they also ate his lunch just right in front of her like she was nothing. That scene is in the play to show you that the Nazis were not nice to anybody, not even little girls. It shows you that Annemarie is very brave and that is when she finds out that she is stronger than she thought she was. This scene made you worry for her, that she might get taken away. The soldier was frightening but also he was drunk; that makes you think that he's not a very good soldier.

People who would like this show are people who like learning about history, friendship, and pink cupcakes. People should go see this show because it doesn't seem like a regular kids' show. People die and there is a lot of talk of people putting their lives in danger. But you still could identify with the characters and what the characters were feeling, and I really liked this show.

Photos: Anna Ables

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review of The Phantom of the Opera (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Phantom of the Opera. The music was by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Lyrics were by Charles Hart. It was directed by Laurence Conner. It was about a girl named Christine (Julia Udine) who worked at the Opera but she was a dancer. She wasn't the main singer for the opera but she was really good. She meets the Phantom (Cooper Grodin) of the Opera and he wants her to always sing instead of Carlotta (Jacquelynne Fontaine). The show is about the Phantom getting to know Christine and how she actually sort of loves him but she also loved her boyfriend Raoul (Ben Jacoby). This production is a new production, but this is the first time I've seen it so I don't know how it is different, but whatever ways it is different, I liked it a lot. This is a very spooky show and an exciting show, and all the special effects are really cool.

All the special effects were cool and very memorable. One of my favorite special effect was when the Phantom of the Opera, the Angel of Music at that time, came out of the mirror. I thought it would be funny if he said, "The Phantom of the Op-er-aah is here. Inside your mirror!" There was this really awesome fire effect where the Phantom of the Opera is trying to kill Christine's boyfriend. I thought it was really cool how they used real fire and not just projections or a lighting effect. I thought that it was really amazing how the stairs came out of the wall and they just came out as they stepped. I thought that was really fun. I want my staircase to be like that! That effect told me that one of them, Christine, was really clueless about where they were going and the Phantom was trying to show her how amazing this place was. I really liked how he was rowing through the mist like it was water, and the thing was it was the only thing around them that had anything to do with water, so it really made sense to me. And the boat was exactly how I imagined. It was an inspiration for my class when they asked me to do a horror genre reciting of a poem. I did the Phantom of the Opera with the boat and the secret lair. It was really fun; so, thanks, Phantom of the Opera!

There was this song called "Masquerade" that happened at the Masquerade ball. The ball is for fixing the opera house successfully so it looks nice again. The part that I found a little annoying was the part where they explained what a masquerade was, which basically everybody knows who is going to see that. But I really liked that scene. I loved the dancing! It was very clean and I was like, how do they do that!?! I liked when they twirled the girls around and lifted them. And I also thought all the masks and costumes (Maria Björnson) were really fancy and cool.

There was this scene where everybody was getting notes from the Phantom. But the guys that ran the opera house, Firmin (Craig Bennett) and André (Edward Staudenmayer), weren't taking the Phantom seriously. They just thought that he was a small threat and they could take him down easily. It was a funny scene because everyone had a note and everybody said the exact same line, "I have a note!" It added some comedy to the horror and tragedy. I thought that was a really good idea and I really liked that scene.

Once Christine stepped forward and said, "I will sing," I knew she was going to be a major character. You really love that character because she is very brave. She is not scared of the Phantom, which I would be, and she is brave in the way that she just goes up and sings even though she is not a professional singer. I liked how she was very open to whatever anyone asked of her. I thought that her singing was very beautiful.

There was a girl who was friends with Christine and her name was Meg (Hannah Florence). I thought that her singing was very nice and I thought it was ironic that she sang a song about her not being able to sing! The main singer at the opera house, Carlotta, was sort of a mean character, but I enjoyed how the actress really tackled the role well. Piangi (Frank Viveros) was a very funny role until the end. I thought it was funny how, when he was rehearsing for the Phantom's opera, he couldn't sing any higher than as low as possible! Madame Giry reminded me of my ballet teacher because she seems very strict but I also liked the character. I liked how she actually seemed like a ballet teacher and how if she thumped her stick everybody would listen.

The Phantom wants to be the director but he doesn't really succeed because people don't even really know if he is real. You know he wants to be the director because he is giving them orders about the opera house and he hates people who overact. All that he wants is to be in power over the opera house because the opera house is basically his house. Then he would also be able to control Christine. That is not really the best first date, but he didn't really understand love. Love is not about control it is about being able to converse about things that you wouldn't be able to talk about with anybody else. The Phantom and Christine can go through things together that other people wouldn't understand, so that shows he loves her, but not in the right way because he is also trying to control her. At the beginning you feel like the Phantom is not a nice person, but at the end he finds out what love is, and then you feel like he could be a better person in life.

People who would like this show are people who like masquerade balls, love, and Phantoms coming out of your mirrors. People should go see this show because it is scary but fun at the same time and all the special effects are really awesome. For the entire show I had a really bad headache because I was getting sick, but I still enjoyed it. And people who go without a headache will enjoy it even more!

Photos: Matthew Murphy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review of Shattered Globe Theatre's Our Country's Good.

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Our Country's Good. It was directed by Roger Smart and it was by Timberlake Wertenbaker. It was about a bunch of convicts in Australia and Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark (Steve Peebles) wanted to put on a play called The Recruiting Officer with them. There were a bunch of convicts in it and some of them were going to be hanged but they weren't and some of them you couldn't really see how they were convicts because they didn't seem like bad people. You could be hanged for any kind of stealing then. It seems unfair. It is about being able to start a community by just knowing people and learning with them for awhile. This play makes you want to know more about these characters and their entire life and background. You want to find out if Mary Brenham (Abbey Smith) has a baby, and you want to find out if Duckling (Mary Franke) finds another person to love and if Dabby (Christina Gorman) escapes. You want to find out if Ketch Freeman (Addison Heimann) actually becomes a famous actor, if Sideway (Kevin Viol) opens up his own theater company and everybody is in it, and if John Arscott (Ben Werling) actually makes it through the play. I looked up some of these things and you should too after you go see the play.

There were these three girls named Mary, Dabby, and Liz (Eileen Niccolai). I thought that it was really funny how Dabby and Liz were sort of fighting over Mary because she was the only one who could read and they were trying to read the script so they could be in the play. The women seemed less educated than the men. When they started the scene, Mary just started basically reading, and then she was like, "It's your line." And Liz was just like, "I don't need the script. You take it." And then Liz just looked at her script and looked up like, "I don't know what to do with this." At the beginning they don't really like each other, but then as they go through the play they get to like each other more and more and get to know each other more and more. These were my favorite characters. I think they did a good job making these characters even more lovable even though they were convicts.

I thought that when the lieutenants came in to the rehearsal space it was scary. I felt very terrified for the convicts. I thought that they were going to all die because the major and his lieutenants were treating everybody so badly. I hated it when they made Sideway show the whip-marks on his back. And then they tried to make Mary Brenham show them the tattoo on her leg. They were doing that because they wanted to humiliate her. And they wanted to make Dabby bark like a dog to show that she was an animal and not a human being. That made me feel really angry because they made people do stuff that they didn't want to do. This scene shows us that people shouldn't be treated like this. It made you like the convict characters more.

I loved the scene where Ketch came in and was talking to Lieutenant Clark about how he wanted to be an actor because one day he saw these performers on his street and it was just so amazing and he wanted to do that himself. They treated the actors amazingly and he wanted to be treated nicely because he was the hangman and all of the other convicts treated him horribly. And that is how he got into the show. I thought that Ketch's character was a cool one because he was different from all the other convicts even though he was a convict. I thought that it was funny how he was talking about his guardian angel and how his guardian angel had sort of quit on him.

I thought that John Wisehammer was a really cool character. I liked how he was a nerd in the way that he loved words and he knew all the meanings. I think that they wanted that character in the play because he would be good for the play because he basically helped build on ideas that they had in the story. He also makes the title line himself, so you see he has helped with the story. He writes his own beginning to The Recruiting Officer because he wants to make it more comfortable for the convicts. The title comes in when he says, "We left our country for our country's good." He means that we left for Australia so that other people in England would feel better. I liked the moment in the prison where Liz and John were telling each other about their life stories. It was sweet because you knew that they were warming up to each other.

People who would like this show are people who like learning about convicts, Australia, and nerds who love words (like me!). People should go see this show because it makes you curious about the convicts and how their lives were in Australia. This show is suspenseful, educational, and makes you care about people that you didn't know you could care about so much.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review of Seanachai Theatre Company's The Seafarer

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Seafarer. It was written by Conor McPherson and directed by Matt Miller. It was about a guy named Sharky (Dan Waller) who was taking care of his blind brother Richard (Brad Armacost) and the oldest brother liked to get drunk and he had a friend named Ivan (Ira Amyx) who also liked to get drunk. And Nicky (Shane Kenyon), who was their other friend, also liked to get drunk. But Sharky does not. Mr. Lockhart (Kevin Theis), who has another name but doesn't need to be introduced, doesn't seem to know any of them, but he does know two of them very well. This play is about learning to accept what is coming and mistakes and gambling. It is also about discovering that you don't have to be cranky all the time; it is good to enjoy your friends.

I thought that the character of Ivan was really funny. Through most of the play he couldn't see anything because he didn't have his glasses. And also he really liked alcohol, and that was another of his problems. And also he had to read all the cards for the blind man, but since he couldn't find his glasses he was also almost blind. One of my favorite parts was when he couldn't see his cards right, and he says in a really bland tone, "I just couldn't see my cards right." He uses that tone throughout the play, but that instance was just super funny. You really like this character because he is really funny and I think he seemed like somebody who when he wasn't drunk you would like to be friends with. He is tricky but really funny, like when Sharky left he just grabbed the whiskey from under his chair and started pouring it into coffee mugs. Another time he drank Nicky's beer before giving it to him. I really loved the toast and butter hilarity. I just loved how it crumbled into pieces. He just slapped on the butter, and then he kind of dug the knife into the bread and just messed it around, and it completely disintegrated.

The character of Mr. Lockhart was interesting and cool. He was also sort of a scary character, for a reason that you must go and see the show for. I really liked how Mr. Lockhart knew everyone but didn't know everyone. He seemed like he could be a friendly person--he was very open--but he couldn't be. You didn't exactly feel sorry for him; you felt more scared of him. I wanted to see him being a nice guy for real, not just fake. I thought it was really cool how he seems very mysterious. He thinks of people as collectibles not as human beings. I think that Mr. Lockhart seems threatening, but he can change from threatening to nice by the snap of his fingers.

Nicky, I think, is not what he is trying to be. He is trying to be fancy; he wants people to see him as a hip person. But instead of spending his time at a casino or his girlfriend's house, he is at a old blind guy's house. Not exactly what you'd call a cool cat. He also didn't say the f-word as much as everyone else did; that told you that he wanted people to admire him. His main problem is how he wants everyone to admire him for who he isn't. He puts down money even though there's no chance of him winning because he wants to look cool. I think that Nicky is a mixed-up but awesome character.

There was a blind guy; his name was Richard. His favorite word was the F-word. And he was Sharky's brother. You learn that he is a nice jerk. He's a jerk because of how he treats Sharky and how much he drinks. He was nice because at the end he kind of warmed up to everybody. Richard is really obsessed with winos getting on people's cars. At first I thought that they were saying rhinos, and now I have been told very recently that they are called winos. I thought that they meant the rhinos was like a football team or something, but it was a bunch of drunk people, which was ironic. It was ironic because the three people who actually went out to fight the winos were also alcoholics. Richard drinks because he is blind and wants to be happy. He is afraid of death and sadness and he is also afraid of Sharky leaving again. But at the end he makes a big decision that makes Sharky happier.

Sharky is the main character. He is trying to stop drinking. That makes you like him more, because he's the one person who is not drunk. He treats his brother nicely, and he is never cruel to him. He wants to stay with him as long as he can so he can keep an eye on him and he'll be okay. But he is not always happy to be with Richard, because Richard is not that nice, but he deals with it. I liked how he said the speech about Nicky driving his car because he seemed very angry but it was also funny because you wouldn't really think that he would really get angry about his friend driving the car. But then you figure out that he's not his friend because he is with his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. He seems like a good person because he is trying to make up for what he's done because he has done a lot of terrible things. That tells you that he is trying to be a good person but not always succeeding. There is a lot of stuff I could give away about him, but I won't say a word.

People who would like this show are people who like card games, forgiveness, and disintegrated toast. People should go see this show because it is funny but it has a lot of lessons, like "don't be an alcoholic" and "you'll be unhappy if you do horrible things" and "if you've already done horrible things, try to make up for them." This show was a great experience for me. It was so funny; I was laughing out loud for most of the show. It ends in such a great and satisfying way you have to go see it. This is a really awesome show.

Photos: Joe Mazza

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review of The Little Prince at Lookingglass Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Little Prince. It was by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and directed by David Catlin. I think that this story is a really nice one to adapt because of all the different things that you can do with it. There are so many characters and so many animals and there are so many ways you can adapt it. This is a great adaptation. I think it is the best adaptation of The Little Prince that you are going to see. I think how they used all the circus elements was cool because of how they actually made the story incorporate all those circus things without completely changing the plot or anything.

When you first come in, it is just a bunch of seats in front of a bland curtain and it feels squished. It looks so small, but then it gets bigger--much, much bigger. The set (by Courtney O'Neill) was really cool. I really liked how the entire set was just one big drawing board! Because it was just plain, it was like the desert. When you first looked at it, it looked like a giant white stage, but then it turns into a giant masterpiece.

At the very beginning, the Aviator (Ian Barford) told the audience about when he was a kid he drew a picture and he went and showed it to the grown-ups and he said, "Are you afraid?" And the adults said, "Why should we be afraid of a hat?" But it wasn't a hat! It was a boa constrictor devouring an elephant. It tells us that grown-ups don't understand the same things that kids do. Throughout the play the Aviator is getting more grown-up and then close to the end he realizes that he was becoming too grown up because of how he is treating the Little Prince (Amelia Hefferon). It is trying to tell the audience that we shouldn't have any more too-grown-up people.

I thought that the actress who played the Little Prince was really good at seeming like a kid and a boy. I think it would be hard to play a kid and a boy if you were not a kid and a boy. You like him but he's also not exactly really nice because he is sometimes cranky. That is the truth of kids. They are sometimes cranky and sometimes not. You find out about almost his entire life, and that makes you able to like him no-matter-what better. He doesn't understand the earth, so that makes us want to stay longer at the play to see what he learns about it.

There was a Rose (Louise Lamson) who was owned by the Little Prince. I liked how she dropped from the ceiling: she came down and then she went back up again and when she got to the top she shrank back down again and became a rose. I liked how her dress (by Sally Dolembo) just popped right down. I liked how when she became the rose she seemed clueless and I really believed that she was clueless about what was going on.

I loved the King (Raymond Fox). I thought that he did a great job ringing his bell in that funny way. I really liked the planet that he sat on and how it looked like the planet was just his throne. I loved how he was always very happy. He gives the orders that people want to be given. Like if someone wants to sit down he says, "I order you to sit down!" and then smiles. Raymond also played the Geographer. I thought that he was really funny because he lived in this giant globe and you could hear that he was in a globe. He liked his planet, but it didn't seem like it would be the most comfortable place.

I liked when the Little Prince saw the drunk old man (Lauren Hirte). I liked how the old man was wobbly on his giant circus ball. You felt scared for him because he could fall and really hurt himself. I knew that the performer was wobbling purposefully, but some people might think she was doing it accidentally. I thought that it was very funny that he gave his bottle to this lady and at the end when he got his bottle back he gestured to the woman like, "Give her a hand," and once everyone started applauding he moved his arms like, "No! Stop!"

I thought that the Lamp Lighter (Adeoye) was really funny. I loved how he was yelling "Good morning!" even though there was no one around to hear him except for the Little Prince, and how he would stop mid-sentence to yell, "Good evening!" When he tried to run backwards on his globe it was great because of how he fell back against the bar behind and was like hyperventilating. And he was like, "Well, I still can't sleep." I thought that was very funny. And he said that was his favorite thing to do, and I don't think that is a good favorite thing to do if you are a lamp lighter who has to light the lamp every minute. I thought that when the same actor was the disco guy he was really funny. I liked how he hung upside-down and starting doing all the moves like, oh, pow, ooh! He was doing all these disco moves and then he says, "Do you admire me?" Then he's like, "Please admire me a little," and you can't admire someone a little! When Kasey Foster and Kareem Bandealy were singing all these French words and beatboxing I thought that was really cool and funny.

The Snake's (Bandealy) entrance, how his head popped out of the ground, was really cool. He was a trustworthy snake; he didn't kill people for fun but only when someone asked him to. I thought that his movements for being snake-like were great. I thought that how he wiggled was awesome. How he stuck out his tongue right with the beat of the hissing made me feel not exactly comfortable, but that was good for a snake. He also played the Businessman. The Businessman thought that he owned all the stars. The problem is that nobody can own the stars. He just wanted to lock them up and not enjoy the beauty of the stars. I actually felt scared for him when he went back up to the catwalk and he was just hanging by his hands. I thought that he could drop, but he didn't.

The Fox (Foster) was a really awesome character. It was funny when the Fox came up sniffing in each section of the audiences, saying "Chick-ons?" in a French accent. Her outfit and hairdo was really crazy and awesome! I loved how when the Fox was tamed she was tamed by playing the flute with the Little Prince. When the Fox started to play the recorder she was just like pfft and it made this grinding sound and she just looked at the Little Prince like, "Sorry!" and it was really funny. Taming can be good in some ways but also bad. You can tame someone so they are nice and they won't hurt people anymore, but if you are taming them so you can get something from them, that's not very good. Taming in this story is to make a friend. That is always good, to have a friend, if they want to be your friend.

People who would like this show are people who like elephants inside boa constrictors, flute-playing foxes, and french disco spacemen who want to be admired. I think this show should be for ages 5 and up, but prepare your kids for a part that is sad. People should definitely go see this show because it is funny, bittersweet, and there are a lot of cool acrobatics. It is awesome and it is great to take your kids to!

Photos: Liz Lauren

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review of Pegasus Players' 27th Annual Young Playwrights Festival

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Chicago Young Playwrights Festival. There are a lot of teenagers who write plays and submit them and then there are three winners. The plays were called Senioritis by Alexus Williams, The Diner by Lauren Trifunovich, and Fears for Fairytales by Clare McKitterick. All of the stories I think were good, and I think that the program is a very good idea, and once I become I teenager I want to do it.

I liked the show Senioritis. It was about a teenaged girl named Maya (Celeste M. Cooper) who was spending more time with her Grandpa (JJ McCormick) when she wanted to spend time with her friends. But then she realized that it was more important to be with her family, which she doesn’t get to see as often as her friends. There was a cranky old man named Black (Carl Herzog) and I thought that his character was really funny. There was a woman named Lori (Joy Valdez-Pappas) and she was very nice to Maya. She and Black were ornery to each other. I thought that the grandpa seemed like a very nice grandpa because of how he treated her. He didn’t say, “You sit down right here or I am going to call your mother!” I would have liked it if the teenager had talked more realistically, but I really liked the old people talking because it was really funny and I think the actors performed it really well.

The Diner was a cool story about a young woman named Betty (Susan Myburgh) who is a waitress at a diner and it was a really rainy night and a man named John (Herzog) came in. It was very suspenseful! You get to know the characters very well and you like all of them…at first! I liked when Ray (McCormick) and Betty were talking about how it was hard to have kids because it showed me that Ray wasn’t exactly a really good guy because he was talking about kids as if they were just a burden. It made you feel like Betty was a better parent. I thought that all the actors did a great job making it exciting. It ends in a mysterious way. I think that it would be better if you knew what was going to happen, but maybe the playwright should just do a sequel.

I loved the play Fears for Fairytales. It was about fairytale characters who needed help from basically a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist was Glinda the Good Witch (Myburgh). And there was a sassy Snow White (Cooper) who was afraid of apples; I thought she was cool. And Pinocchio (Daniel Rosenstrauch) is already a boy and he is afraid of lying. I think he did a really good job being like Pinocchio even though he wasn’t a kid. And there was also Captain Hook (McCormick) and he was afraid of any kind of children. And Pinocchio, since he was a kid, Captain Hook was afraid of him. The Big Bad Wolf (Herzog) was afraid of sharp things. I thought that it was really funny how Glinda just came out with an ax and started to swing it at the Big Bad Wolf. I would describe the dialogue as funny and awesome.

People who would like this show are people who like old-fashioned diners, nice grandpas, and ax-wielding, supposedly-good witches. When you go to this show, if you are a kid, it makes you want to do this when you get older. I think that all these shows put together make a very nice evening.

Photos: Andre Walker

Monday, January 6, 2014

Review of WildClaw Theatre's The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It was adapted by Scott T. Barsotti from H.P. Lovecraft's story and directed by Shade Murray. It was about this girl named Regina (Brittany Burch) who was writing her thesis in anthropology, but when she got to the place where she was going to research her thesis, it was creepy. It is also about the people in Innsmouth and how they are different and scary and how she is learning about her heritage. She was going there to stay with her cousin Walter (Adam Shalzi) and he was not there, so she needs to find him. It is also about how the town was in very bad shape and everybody was sick. They are turning themselves into things they don't want to be, like in the witch trials in Salem the people who were accused were becoming witches in everybody's mind. This show is funny but also very scary. I really liked it and I think a lot of people would really like it.

A woman named Winifred Gilman (Christy Arington) loved crunching medicine. This girl also secretly had a stash of alcohol. At this one time in the play Regina had to give her medicine to crunch on to get some alcohol to give to this man she was trying to talk to. I thought it was funny how Regina tried to crunch on some medicine and her face went like "Eww! That was disgusting." I thought that Winifred was scary because she basically had a lot of scars, but the medicine made her even creepier. The librarian who told Regina about Innsmouth (Arington) is super different from Winifred because one of them was really nice and the other was really scary and mean. I think that Christy did a good job with changing her personality from being a nice librarian to a woman who is very ill-tempered.

Regina goes and meets Professor Trask (Steve Herson) in Arkham. He was one of the only not-scary people in the show. It is good to have a not-scary character in the show because that gives you hope and if that hope is lost, it makes more impact. This scene made you know that he was a good guy and that they were friends. When he started comforting her and telling her about Innsmouth you knew that he was trying to help her and you hoped that he wouldn't turn into an evil bad guy.

There was a brother and a sister, Barnabus Marsh (Bob Kruse) and Millicent Marsh (Mary Jo Bolduc) who owned the gold refinery. They were a little a bit crazy because they talked a lot and they were fighting about what they wanted to show Regina. And then they would just smile back at her in a weird and creepy way. They talked like monsters to each other but they weren't like metaphoric monsters, like "You've always been ugly, you know." They were talking in monster language and it sounded like vomiting and croaking. They were also funny because of how they talked so much and she said, "I have a collection of women's fashions" in a snotty way. That was basically one of her favorites words: "women's fashions." I loved how the sister and brother smiled back at Regina after they croaked and croaked and croaked.

There was a guy named Joe Sargent (Jude Roche) and he drove the bus and the thing was that he had a giant scar on the side of his face and he tried to talk in human language and there was blood coming out of his mouth but he didn't always succeed in actually talking. You felt like he was not a really bad guy. He seemed like he could actually be nice if he wasn't basically a monster and having so many problems.

I liked the part where Regina fell asleep when she was on the bus. And then the lights went down and then the lights went up and there was a woman sitting there. And then the lights went down again and there were more people and more people. And then at the end all the people were looking straight at her with curiosity. It was really funny because everybody was just like, "Hmmm. What's going on?" The lights show that a lot of time was passing but they make it funny too because you just didn't know what was going to be next, and when everybody was leaned in it was just super funny.

Zadok Allen (Brian Amidei) was talking to Regina about her heritage and about the things that I cannot talk to you about until you've seen the play. It was very interesting. I thought that Brian did a great job of actually seeming like a really mental alcoholic. I liked how he was really involved with the story. When he came to an exciting, a sad, or a weird part he would just have a giant chug of alcohol. Usually you shouldn't believe alcoholic people, but this one you should listen to.

Regina gets to the hotel and Winifred Gilman who runs it is not exactly the most friendly type. And then Regina asks for something packaged because she doesn't want to get all the germs from them. And even though she was just eating crackers this was a very interesting scene. And then Teddy (David Seeber) goes to get her a glass of water and he comes back with something yellow with green dots in it. And it was sooo gross, even thinking about now makes me feel uneasy. But it is also sort of funny at the same time. I think that Teddy was just like everyone else, only he was shyer. He was staring at Regina like, "Did I make her happy?" And when she goes up to her room something very scary happens, but my mouth is zipped!

I thought that the costumes by Aly Renee Amidei were really cool and great. I would like to wear Regina's. I really liked the skirt; I thought it was very pretty. I think Aly made her costume prettier because then it made her stand out more from all of the people in Innsmouth. I think the makeup really stood out and seemed very, well, real. It made those people look less friendly and it made you feel scared. I thought that the set by John Ross Wilson was really great because of how it could move in so many different ways and look like things it didn't look like a minute ago. It looked like ruins; it made you feel like you were actually in Innsmouth.

People who would like this show are people who like creepy bus drivers, nice professors, and women's fashions. People should go see this show because suspenseful, funny, and scary. I think some nine year olds would be fine with this. I was. It is scary but not horrifying; it was a scary as Doctor Who, so if your kids watch Doctor Who and don't think it is too scary, they can watch this.

Photos: Kyle Hamman