Friday, December 30, 2011

Ada Grey's Top 5 Plays of 2011

My favorite shows of the year, in alphabetical order:

Burning Bluebeard at the Neofuturarium

I loved Burning Bluebeard because there were lots of different kinds of funniness and lots of different kinds of scariness. It made you feel sad but also made you feel happy at the exact same time. I was sad that all the people died, but I was happy that the actors got to make moonlight.

Cyrano at The House Theatre of Chicago

I think Cyrano was a really awesome show because it had panache! Panache means poetry-ness, and it had a lot of poetry in it, and I like poetry. I also liked it because it had cool fight scenes which included comedy.

The Moonstone at Lifeline Theatre

The Moonstone was a really awesome show, and I saw it three times! I liked the plot which was trying to find a precious stone. Mysteries are one of my favorite kinds of writing because they usually have suspense and, if there is an intermission, you can try to figure out what happened to whatever has been stolen.

Old Times at Strawdog Theatre Company

I loved Old Times because of the mystery in it. In The Moonstone you know what happens at the end; in Old Times you have no idea what happens in the end. The satisfaction of this mystery is that you choose the ending. I like how they transform a big room into a tiny space. You feel like you are really in the room with the characters.

Orlando at Court Theatre

I loved Orlando because it showed the relationship between men and women in different ways than I've seen in other plays. I liked how it was romantic but also kind of touching and hilarious. It think it is cool because it has things that don't happen in real life, but they would happen in a dream.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review of Chicago Children's Theatre's Goodnight Moon: The Musical!

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called Goodnight Moon: The Musical!  It was really awesome because there were these cool dance numbers that were all about different things that were in the room--for example, bears in chairs pop out of the painting in a little hole and the cow jumping over the moon.  It is great for all ages.  Everybody is going to like it because it is so funny.

When the show started Alex Goodrich came out as the Bunny when he was a grownup, and then he saw the book which was Goodnight Moon, and it was the book that his mom and dad read to him when he was a little boy.  It kind of made the grown-ups in the audience remember when they were littler and they were read this book.  It kind of made the kids see what it was going to be like when they were grown ups: that if they were sad, then they would remember happy things that happened when they were younger.

Then the curtain comes up and everybody was really excited about how much the stage looked like the actual great green room.  I think Jacqueline and Richard Penrod were really good at making the set design because it looked exactly like the great green room.  And the pictures looked like the real ones in the book. The balloon looked like the actual balloon in the picture.  But it didn't just hang there; it moved around!  It tried to scare the little old lady whispering hush (Sarah Sevigny). The pictures actually moved around like puppets.  It wasn't exactly like the book, because how can they move around in the book?  It made the play more exciting.  There are three options about how the house is moving and doing crazy stuff.  One: the Bunny is asleep and dreaming.  Two: he is having visions.  Three: he is imagining it.  I hope that he actually goes to sleep because then the old lady, if he wasn't asleep, is being kind of mean because she is just leaving him alone in the room.   I think she should stay in the room with him until he goes to sleep because then he won't worry about her and he won't get into mischief. 

You might fall asleep without knowing about it, but you are still actually asleep; that is what happens in real life when you go to sleep then you dream about waking up and all these weird things happen which aren't actually happening, and then you wake up and you actually waked up.  Once I had a dream where I woke up, and then my mom was pushing a shopping cart inside the house filled with peppers and water.  That is very weird.  Then I actually woke up from the dream, and I thought it was a dream again, but it wasn't because nothing weird happened.  

I thought the part with Claribel the Cow (Sara Sevigny) jumping over the moon was cool because when she actually jumped over the moon she actually jumped over a drum that looked like a moon.  And I thought that was really fun and cool. I really liked the puppets and how one was a dish who was a boy and one was a girl who was a spoon.  The person who was playing those characters was The Dog (Becky Poole).  I liked how the dish and the spoon talked and they sang along with the theme song all the time: "Hey diddle diddle, hey diddle diddle, a-diddly dee." They sounded very different from the dog's voice.  She can do lots of different voices of different things and different people and stuff like that; I think that is a good ability to have because then you can play lots of different kinds of characters as an actor.  Becky also played the Mouse.  The Mouse is the Bunny's best friend.  The Mouse is almost four years old and she thinks lots of things are hilarious when they really are.  She seems like a real friend.  She had a tiny little voice that sounded like a three-year-old talking and she was always making up new things to do.

Aaron Holland did a good job playing the part of the imaginary friend.  I thought it was a really good idea to have an imaginary friend because lots of younger kids have imaginary friends who do crazy stuff.  He did like weird stuff like messed up the bed and ran around in circles in the middle of the night.  I think he was having fun.  When he was the Fire, the Fire and the Bunny kept saying something which was really funny: "Fire Joke!"  They kept saying "Fire Joke!" whenever they did a fire joke.  For example, when Claribel the Cow left, the Bunny said "That cow was sure hot, " and then they were like "Fire Joke!" And then they laugh hysterically.

The Old Lady (Sara Sevigny) I think was really well cast.  She doesn't look like a little old lady, but she is very good at pretending to be one.  She wants the best for her little Bunny.  She wants him to have a great experience tomorrow, when he has to go to school, and she doesn't want him to get bad grades because he is so tired. I have seen Sara in Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch as Mrs. Weed and I thought she did a very good job in that.  And she also did a very good job in this.  She is always excited and it seems like it is her first day every day that she does the play.  She seems really happy to see everybody at the show because she knows everybody is going to like it.

I thought Alex Goodrich was just hilarious.  For example, when all the things in his room are moving, he is like, "huh?" He always reacts to everything in a way that people actually would feel like if this actual really crazy thing happened to them.  And that feeling feels hilarious.  In all his plays that I've seen, he has always been a fuh-larious character because he is such a funny person. He just makes himself funny by being really expressive with all his body parts.  Like his face makes funny faces; his arms move around with handsaws and stuff.  (A handsaw is like when you put your hand in the air and wave; that is called a hand-sawing motion.  It is like you are like sawing a tree in the air. I got that term from Backroom Shakespeare, and Backroom Shakespeare got that term from Hamlet.)  People can be funny by not being expressive, and people can be funny by being expressive.  I would call what Alex does "expressive comedy." 

The stage, the actors, and the props make this a very good adaptation. They added a bunch of stuff because the book is only one-minute long, and you can't have a one-minute play. Because if something is only one-minute long, what is the point of watching it?  It was a good idea to add all the songs (by Chad Henry) because they weren't just flibber-flabber: they actually had to do something with the book.  The main song is "Goodnight Moon," and it is saying goodnight to everything in the room, just like the actual book. The other songs, they have to do with the paintings that come to life.  I think those songs really have to do with the book because they are kind of like the same things as are in the book.  A song or a picture can tell you stories, either way.

People that like music, animals, and puppets would like this show.  I think this show should be for ages two and up.  I think younger kids would like it because lots of the things in the show happen to younger kids--like not being able to go to sleep.  It is always funny and cute, and there is nothing boring. 

Photos: Michael Brosilow

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of the Game Show Show...and Stuff! at Mercury Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called The Game Show Show...and Stuff.  It was kind of scary because they did these crazy things like drinking a vase full of eggnog in 60 seconds.  It was scary in a fun way.  I enjoyed it because it was kind of like a circus.  Instead of having a sword-eater or a clown or trapeze artist, they had eggnog-drinking, Esteban, and cake stacking.

The Game Show Show is more about succeeding than an ordinary play because it is a game show and not Macbeth. It is some actors and some people from the audience.  The people are doing crazy things because then they got prizes. And if they lost, they would just get candy canes. So nobody is left without a prize.  I thought that was a good idea, because then nobody felt bad. 

I thought the cake stacking was really awesome because they had these cool helmets with plates glued on top of them, and they tried to stack "undescribable cakes" on them.  The undescribable cakes were chocolate cakes with white zigzags on the top and delicious creme inside.  Oh.  I just described it.  I guess I know a lot about delicious cakes when I don't know about it.  So they did it, and neither of them fell down, and then both of them fell down, and they counted them. And the people on the left won.  The stage was covered with delicious creme-filled zigzag cakes.   

Since it was almost Christmas, they decided to do present wrapping as a contest. There were three objects which they had to wrap in different kinds of paper, but the problem was there was only one pair of scissors. One of them used the scissors, and one of them just tore it, and that made it quicker.  The presents actually looked pretty good.  I was rooting for the person who won.  It was really awesome and cool.

All these people that won, they got to dance in the dance contest at the end.  So, they each had a name for the dancers, for example, Sweaty Fish.  I have no idea what that means.  Names like that.  Everybody had a dance partner, and they would dance in different ways, and they would root for them, and whoever got the most screaming won.  It was actually a good way of choosing who won.  Everybody actually spanked each other generally during the dancing, and I thought that was really funny because there was this dance in this cartoon where there was this animal named Pimple and these guys in hoods and you found out that the people in hoods were actually just Betty Boop.  There were all these Betty Boops doing the can can behind them, and then they were like woo hoo ha ha ha as they spanked each other.  I thought that was kind of weird but kind of silly. 

Esteban was a special singer that was a guest star. The first time they introduced him, he didn't come out.  They said "The most amazing singer in the world: Esteban Andres Cruz!" And everybody was cheering super loud, and then he doesn't come out for another act.   I thought that was really funny.  When he comes out--finally--he is in a dress and is climbing around on seats, lip syncing and falling down. That is not what I expected from this guy who played a genie in Sinbad the Untold Tale. I just thought it was kind of funny and unexpected. I can climb over about 9 rows of seats in one minute.  It is fun, climbing over seats.  At the end of the show, Esteban did some rapping.  He was rap-songing. So he was like at the end of a little kids' tv show and he was like "We've learned something new today!" He didn't exactly say this, but it was kind of in this kind of tune.  Kind of like this: "This is the end of our show. We need to go home.  This is the end of our show now."  It was like the grand finale.  

The girls group (Nikki Klix and Ally Oops) sang songs while they were getting ready for other things. The band I see a lot around Strawdog, and they play at late night parties.  I think the band plays really good songs.  The Game Show Show would have been a little less cool without the band; it made it more awesome.

The announcer was JAZ, James Anthony Zoccoli, and the host was Anderson Lawfer.  The thing that everybody had to scream to get to the next game, so then they said "Tumble that thing!"  I thought that was funny because we don't know what that thing is called so we actually just call it a thing.  The thing was this case with papers with names on it, and then JAZ would shout their names and they would come up on stage and ta da! they did something.  Anderson Lawfer seemed like he was in real life because he is actually a very funny person except when he was in one play, Master and Margarita.  He was pretty scary in that.  He was a man-eating, standing-on-his-hind-legs cat.  The cat wouldn't have made a very good host to the Game Show Show...and Stuff.  Then when the contestants weren't looking, he would chop off their heads and roll it and keep their heads as a souvenir. 

I think this show should be for ages 35 and up because it is at 11 o'clock at night.  Of course I thought I should go see it, but it WAS pretty late at night. If they slept through the whole day, and then got up at 9 at night, then kids that go to school could go see it. People that like games shows, circuses, music, and delicious cakes with creme and zig zags on them would like this show.  I've never been to a game show before, so this is what I think it is like: sitting in awe watching people do crazy things. The Game Show Show is totally awesome.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ada Grey's Holiday Favorites from 2010

These are two great shows that you can all go see at the Chopin Theatre, and they are The House Theatre's Nutcracker and The Hypocrites' The Pirates of Penzance. I'm going to see them again because they are such awesome plays. I am looking forward to seeing the modern major general and the cookie song!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review of Redmoon's 2011 Winter Pageant: The Teeny Lounge Presents...The Family Event of the Century

Once upon a time, I went to a show and it was called Redmoon Winter Pageant. The place that you go to is called the Teeny Lounge.   Your parents cannot sit with you because the seats and tables are so small only children can sit there.  I think that is why it is called the Teeny Lounge.  The parents sit in this place where there is this railing, and there is a small little slot where parents can go to get to their seats behind their children. I liked how it was actually like an actual lounge, because you got to have milk. It made me feel kind of like a grown up. I thought that was really awesome.  When you come in, there is this dress up area where you can put on fancy costumes and boas and headdresses and gloves and necklaces.  I think they had that so children could feel like they were actually in a lounge.

The show was about this singer named Ricky D. Fish (Alex Balestrieri) that has traveled far and wide and has returned back to his home at the Teeny Lounge and his friend the piano player Penny (Alice Wedoff) who can only whistle and not talk. Ricky's name is really funny because it sounds like "Ricky the fish," so then it sounds like that he's a fish.  He is not a fish; he is a singer.  He is not a singing fish; he is just a regular human.  Wouldn't it be funny, if his stepbrother called, and he was actually a fish?! At the very beginning of the show, a girl in the seats gets a secret box and then she would give it to Ricky at the end of the show.  Everybody did not know what the secret surprise was because it was taped up.  It is a very important box, but I don't want to give away the ending.  I am just giving you a clue, which is that it is very important and it has to do something about love. That is my clue.  And if you do not see this show, then you just won't know.

The songs are really nice.  My favorite song was Macalister.  I think if a girl had been singing it, it would be about how a girl was very good at baseball but all the boys didn't like her because she was a girl and they thought she would just ruin the game.   A boy was singing it and it was about the boy who wanted to be chosen to go on Macalister's team.  Then Macalister picks all these other boys and made the boy feel kind of dumb, but then the boy beat Macalister and hurt him on accident in one of his private parts.  He kind of feels sorry for Macalister, but he is glad that he got revenge.

The LaDeeDa song, it's going to be illegal to sing, but then Ricky D. Fish thinks he is about to get the LaDeeDa song, but then he gets called by his mom twice, and like two seconds apart.  And I'm like, that's just weird.  But then he actually gets the call to do the LaDeeDa song.  I liked the LaDeeDa song because it is kind of funny, because it has the words Hey LaDeeDa in it.  It is supposed to be kind of a romantic song, but the words Hey LaDeeDa are not very romantic.  It's just hilarious and so funny. The song is also kind of sad because it is all about the singer, how he won't always be there for the girl who wrote the song. I didn't laugh at the moment, but when I got home, I felt like it was so funny.

I like how Penny mimed stuff because she did it so funnily.  This is how she lost her voice: she was seven years old, and she was standing up in front of her class going to do a big long speech, but then she couldn't remember it, so then she lost her voice for a long time.  It made you feel sorry for her.  I don't know how to whistle very well, so if that had happened to me, I would be in a very bad state.  There is a really cool effect when she was playing the piano, and they were about to do the LaDee Da song (yay!), and then poof! the piano started moving. 

I liked how Alex Balestrieri was playing all his brothers.  They kept coming and, whenever another came, Penny would do a mime of what had just happened, and then she would do a little jump and be like, "ta da! and then you're here."  There was an Italian electrician, and he came to look at the lamp, and then water sprayed out of it at him, and then he started sobbing.  Then he said, "I am going to call my brother, the plumber."  And then the plumber would come.  The plumber though Penny would have a very beautiful voice if she could speak.  I think it was good idea to have that exact same guy doing all those parts because it seemed like they were brothers.

People that like music, milk, piano, and romance would like this show.  I think this show should be for ages 5 and up.  If you take a younger kid, you should probably sit with them because if you don't then they will be running all over the place, talking and stuff.  Even though grown-ups cannot get milk or costumes or sit in the Teeny Lounge, I think it would still be fun for them because it is a really fun show and the cool tricks with the piano are really awesome.  I thought it was really awesome and cool how the actors communicated with the audience.  They acted like the audience was really a character in the story.