Saturday, October 22, 2016
Review of The Happiest Place on Earth at Sidshow Theatre Company The Greenhouse Theater Center
This play is certainly not happy all the time. You would expect the trip to Disneyland to be a happy thing, but they take it because they don’t know what to do with Christmas because their dad has died suddenly. The story is about Philip’s mom Beth and her sisters Mary Lynn, Karen, and Nan (who is left behind for the trip) and Philip’s grandmother, Beth’s mom. And when they get to Disneyland, Beth sees Cinderella when she is lost and she starts saying all her problems to Cinderella. And it is very sad because she is just pouring her heart out to this costumed character. And Cinderella is just trying to calm her down so that everyone else in line can meet Cinderella. Cinderella did have a lot of sympathy for her, but she couldn’t really help her because none of these problems are things that can really be solved easily. And while that is going on, Karen is on an Alice in Wonderland ride and while she is on it all she can think about is the relationship with her mom. I thought it was really cool how they melded two different worlds together. They took lines from Alice in Wonderland and then turned them into lines that the mom had said. There aren’t a lot of lighting (designed by Ellie Rabinowitz) or sound (designed by Michael Huey) effects in the rest of the play, but here there is an entire lighting and sound sequence. It is really cool, but the effects also add a lot of depth to the scene because it immerses you in the ride even more. And it helps you to feel Karen’s pain even more.
There are also some very sweet moments that relieve the sadness. I thought it was really cool that Philip Dawkins’ grandma is still alive even though she is 90 now because the grandma seemed like a really good grandma and a hardworking person. One time Philip and his grandma were doing the dishes and they saw a black cat in the yard. And with the entire story leading up to that, like the black cat they had had before and they said was a reincarnation of their dad, it made for an adorable end to the story. Another sweet thing is when the grandma met the grandpa, they had gone dancing and she drops her underpants on the floor by accident and then he just picks them up and puts them in his pocket. I thought that was super sweet because he didn’t exclaim, which showed how much of a gentleman he was. It was also very funny.
People who would like this show are people who like black cats, dark humor, and asking Cinderella deep questions. I think people should definitely go see this show. It is beautiful and moving, and I would definitely see it again if I could. It only runs until October 30th, so go and get your tickets!
Photos: Jonathan L. Green
Posted by Ada & Mom at 9:24 AM