Friday, December 2, 2016

Review of The Hypocrites' Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes. It was based on Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot-GarcĂ­a and it was adapted by Andra Velis Simon. It was directed by Sean Graney. It was about Cinderella (Amanda Martinez) who was an orphan and was found in the cinders when the orphanage burnt down. And that is why she is called Cinderella. In this version, there was no prince, no magic, and Cinderella is rewarded because she is good at singing not just because she is pretty and has suffered. I liked all those changes. It's about feeling unwanted, loving your art, and helping those in need. I thought this was a really fun and funny show. I enjoyed it and I thought it had fun audience participation moments and great music.

The beginning of the show seems like there's a party going on. There are a bunch of writers and composers: George Sand (Gay Glenn), Fanny Mendelssohn (Dana Omar), Louise Viardot (Aja Wiltshire), Ivan Turgenev (Joel Rodriquez), and Pauline (Leslie Ann Sheppard) who organized the entire event and wrote Cendrillon. This is where the theater of potatoes comes in. People are probably wondering, "Why the heck is it called Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes?" This should clear it up for you. Pauline makes a theater where you have to pay with potatoes and then you get to do or watch a show. Then they made soup out of the potatoes! I liked that it was not just a Cinderella story; it was the story of people getting together and expressing their love for music and theater. I thought it was cool how they got cast in the show as different characters. Sometimes they would be pleased with their role and sometimes they would not. Louise does not want to be a stepsister; she wants to be Cinderella. Fanny is excited to play the Composer because she has never actually been acknowledged as a composer before because she published under her brother Felix's name.

I think that it was cool that there was no prince. They showed a lot of girl power by trying to avoid the topic of romance altogether. I think that is a good idea. Romance can be exciting to have in a show, but it is a problem when it goes so far as to make it seem like the woman can't do anything for herself because she is overwhelmed by how much she loves a man. Cinderella is trying to get a role in an opera (written by the Composer) because of her talent, which she has a lot of. She has one of the most angelic voices I've ever heard. I got chills. I thought the stepsisters (Wiltshire and Elle Walker) seemed like jerks to poor people, but other than that they weren't that bad. They weren't the wicked stepsisters; they were more the inconsiderate, not-reading-the-room stepsisters. I liked that they were not pure evil because most people have something good about them. They were really kind to each other and they were not untalented, which I thought was another good change. At the end, Cinderella doesn't go away and never talk to the stepsisters or the Baron (Rodriquez) because, as she says in a song, they are her family and even though they are mean to her sometimes, she still loves them.

I really loved the set (designed by Regina Garcia), costumes (designed by Alison Siple), and the audience participation. There was a mouse section that I sat in thanks to my crazy mom, in which you got to squeak whenever they said "mouse" and wear mouse ears. You feel closer, like you are actually in the show. The set also makes you feel closer to the show because the set has playing spaces all around you. The set is very patterned--there are a bunch of flower patterns on the wall in very bright, circus-like colors. I also loved the costumes. The costumes complimented the set very nicely. They were big and pouffy and had very elaborate patterns, and you could not go without noticing them. All of this makes you feel very welcome and ready to have a party.

People who would like this show are people who like party patterns, not-reading-the-room stepsisters, and potato currency. I thought this was a very fun show. It is a great holiday show to see with your kids or your out-of-town relatives, but you will still enjoy it. It is funny, interesting, and you see a lot of really great talent!

Photos: Joe Mazza


Unknown said...

Hi Ada! You might not remember me, but my name is Madison Pullman. I was in the Iliad and I & My iPhone at A Red Orchid Theater. Steven Wilson and I saw you for your audition for I and My iPhone actually. I was in 7/8th grade at the time, and now I am a freshman in college at The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for acting. One of my professors brought your site up in class and I was in shock at the sound of your name. He sent me an email this morning about your Chicago Reader interview. I've been reading our site ever since. I hope all is well, and I will come see your newest show at AROT!!

Ada & Mom said...

I do remember you! And I'm so excited you are coming to the show!