Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review of Promethean Theatre Ensemble's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It was by Tom Stoppard and it was directed by Beth Wolf. It was about Rosencrantz (Nick Lake) and Guildenstern (Tom McGrath), what is happening before you meet them in Hamlet and their perspective on the story of Hamlet. It is about accepting death, friendship, and acting. I loved this play; it was awesome. I saw Arcadia by the same author, and it was amazing. I like this author's plays because they are funny as well as touching, and they talk about real problems in life.

This play is also very much about heads because many many many lines are just this: "Heads." I loved how whenever they flipped a coin it would always come out to be heads. The joke of this was that their heads are going to be chopped off, so it keeps coming up heads. The coin is kind of like a symbolization of death and how by the flip of a coin something good could happen or something bad could happen. Or by just a simple game your friend could be trying to be nice to you but it doesn't work out so well. It was funny but it also symbolized death so it was sad a little bit. I thought it was very clever.

I loved all the tragedians (Ashlee Edgemon, Jared Dennis, Gary F. Barth, Melissa Reeves, David Cady, Jr., Elizabeth Rentfro, Cami Rene Philgreen). I thought they did a great job pretending not to be very good actors. They did other acting, like Cady played Polonious, and he was good at that. But as tragedians they showed you they were pretending not to be the best actors because they actually didn't do very realistic deaths. I thought that the lead Player (Cameron Feagin) was amazing. She made me laugh but at the beginning she seemed mean and weird but then you grew to like her even more along the play. I thought that she had that kind of tomboy essence and she seemed kind of bossy like a kind of like a mean director. I liked how when Guildenstern (or was it Rosencrantz?) started crying on her and she was like "There, there" with a kind of confused look on her face. She says that everyone is always on stage and everyone is always performing. I think that is true, because all the time you are performing yourself.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's friendship is one of the most important things in this play. They have known each other so long and they just lost part of their group when Hamlet (Brendan Hutt) went insane. At first it seems like they don't know who Hamelt is, but once they see what they are supposed to do, then they remember. And then once that thing leaves or they leave, they forget it. North, South, East and West change for them, but they are never like, "I'm not friends with you anymore!" Guildenstern is really smart, but sometimes he can get really sad. And Rosencrantz is not the most smart person but is very funny and very sweet. His problem is that he wants to be like Guildenstern. He is kind of trying to be like him too much. They know they have known each other for a long time, but they don't remember how they have known each other for a long time. The beginning of their lives was they were sent for and somebody was knocking on their door. They don't remember because they have just been created as characters! My mind was blown when I figured this out. It is kind of like being sucked into a fairy tale book.

In this play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are taught to accept death because no one lives forever, unless you turn into a ghost, like Hamlet's father. They are kind of taught that because of two things: The Player and themselves. They taught themselves by accepting many things that were not exactly to their taste exactly. They had to accept that Hamlet was not their friend anymore. They had to accept that they couldn't go home. They had to accept that they had to go back to see who Hamlet was with on the stairs. They had to accept that it was always heads. Then basically the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were developed enough to learn to accept death. The player teaches them to accept death by basically just telling them: accept death. But she also helps them by putting on a show of all of Hamlet's, the play's, deaths. They also realize that death is not just a play, it is an actual thing, and they learn to accept that by seeing the play and seeing their own deaths.

People who would like this show are people who like philosophical discoveries, best friends, and laughing your face and your butt off. People should definitely go and see this show. I had a awesome time even though I was feeling a little sick. This is an amazing show, and it is funny, and I actually learned a lot during this show. And I learned a lot writing this review! And I hope you learned a lot reading this!

Photos: Johnny Knight

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review of Striding Lion's American Me

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called American Me and it was a dance show. Annie Arnoult Beserra was the choreographer. I loved how they incorporated dance and theater at the same time. They talked, but they still expressed their feelings through movement. It is about all the things that make America America. They use dance as well as science studies, quotes from "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, moral lessons, and songs. This show made me so happy when I saw it. I knew that I was happy because I just wanted to get up and dance with all of the dancers (Britt Banaszynski, Michaela Federspiel, Calyn Guberman, Ericka Lashly, Rachel Molinaro, Christy Stallknecht).

When I think about America I think of the flag and a roadside diner. And that was what was basically on the stage when you went in. In the center of the stage was a giant jukebox. There were also a bunch of chairs and tables on stage with mustard and ketchup and salt and pepper on them. You got to sit in those and drink your Coke. Did I mention that they give you a free Coke if you are one of the first twenty people? If you imagine Coke you think: America. When you drink Coke it tastes super good but if you drink too much then you get a stomachache. So it is like the good and bad parts of America. It is important that they let people sit on stage because America is supposed to be about bringing people together and not having a barrier between actors and audience which is like not having a barrier between royalty and the people. I liked how the dancers came in gradually and then once the music came on they nodded their heads and tapped their feet and eventually they were jumping up and down on the chairs!

There was a song "Dancing with Myself" which was all about dancing with yourself and just having a good time. My favorite thing about it was that everybody just started rocking out and all the moves were very impressive in that song. There was one where they picked each other up and slithered on the ground. And they also basically got up on the other person's back and put all of their body weight on that other person. I liked this section because that was what really made me want to dance. The song worked so perfectly with the choreography, but didn't seem planned, they went with the flow of the music.

I was kind of confused at first when all the dancers were bringing out plastic baskets full of marshmallows. They used the marshmallows as basically like a diamond--they were so special. They were holding them out of reach and everybody was like, "Oh my gosh I need that!" I think the marshmallows were there because they wanted to represent the test where people put out marshmallows for kids and then if they ate them right away instead of waiting (which is called delaying gratification) so then they got two, then they would not have as good as life as the people who didn't eat them. The dancers put marshmallows on everyone's table. I was kind of like "Marshmallows! But I'm not going to eat them" because my mom told me to wait. And then I waited. And I'm glad I waited because I passed the test!

There was a section where they said "I am beautiful I am beautiful I am beautiful I am beautiful." It was like self-reliance. You had to rely on yourself that you were beautiful. Saying that can make you believe it more for a little but then it starts to not make sense anymore. They said "I am beautiful" for like one minute and it kind of got funny along the way because they just kept saying "I am beautiful." But it also stopped making sense because if you say something over and over again then it starts to sound like gobbledygook. There wasn't any dancing in this section, so it was different from the others and I thought that was like a change in the middle from dance to theater and then back again.

I liked how they played the game of Life and suddenly after they played for a little bit they threw the cards everywhere and the board was thrown at someone's feet. It made me think how it could be frustrating sometimes. I have played the game of Life before and I got kind of frustrated too. As well as in real life real life can also be frustrating. Then they started explaining how they did the dance, which I think was the dance from the first part. As they did the dance, they explained what they were doing and what they had to look for on the other person's body so they didn't hurt the person. All these moves were ones where two bodies merged together in one shape. That was dancing with another person, which was why they didn't play "Dancing with Myself." But it was kind of like dancing with yourself because they merged together as one. But they were still dancing with themselves at the same time as dancing with the other person. That was about self-reliance being good sometimes but you shouldn't neglect other people.

People who would like this show are people who like America, diners, and awesome dancing. I think kids, teenagers, and adults would all like this show. People should definitely go and see this show. It is funny, capturing, and you are having a great time throughout the entire show.

Photos: Matthew Gregory Hollis

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review of Suitcase Shakespeare Company's The Tempest

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Tempest. It was directed by Arne Parrott and it was written by William Shakespeare and adapted by Adam McAleavey. It was about a wizard named Prospero (William Burdin) who had a daughter named Miranda (Liz Dillard) and they lived on an island, but then the king's (Matthew Davis) son Ferdinand (Michael Medford) got shipwrecked as well and fell in love with Miranda. Also the king's drunken butler Stephano (June Marsh) and his friend who was the king's jester Trinculo (Ben Harpe), they both get drunk on the island while Caliban (McAleavey) is worshipping Stephano. And Caliban also wants a lot of alcohol and he wants them to kill Prospero and then Stephano can marry Miranda. Ariel (Sarah Hoch), not the mermaid but a cute adorable little spirit, does all of Prospero's biddings. Lil Sebastian (Marsh) and Antonio (Harpe) are trying to kill the King. All the people are on the island because Prospero made a shipwreck happen. He wants his child Miranda to be happy and safe when he dies and he also wants to take revenge on his brother and scare his brother out of his wits before he dies. I liked this show very much overall. I thought it was a funnier adaptation of The Tempest than usual. I was laughing for basically the entire time.

I liked the shipwreck scene. I thought it was very cool, and I loved the puppets that were in it. I liked the puppets because they kind of reminded me of The Muppet Show, but they still went with the story. There was just the King and Ferdinand who were not puppets. They were all moving around and about; it was like they were being tossed around. Ferdinand and the Captain tried to get it back on track, but then the ship split. They went off stage and then they screamed "We're splitting!" The lights looked like lightning and there was the sounds of a storm. And that made you feel like you were actually in the tempest.

I liked how Sebastian, the brother of the king, was turned into a dog in this adaptation. Once I saw this dog, I thought an all-pet Shakespeare would be awesome. Like Dogberry could be an actual dog. And Tybalt could be a cat. And Romeo and Juliet could both be Komodo dragons. And Bottom could be a donkey that turns into a human and everyone is terrified. I think they turned that character into a dog because it is hilarious and I am still laughing. This is the kind of dog that might try to kill you, or at least bite you, because he has giant long teeth. But he is not big and scary; he is small and still adorable. The dog talks to Antonio, but he does it in ruffs, not in Shakespearean language and iambic pentameter. He might have been ruff-ing in iambic pentameter, or iambic tetrameter, and if you go and see this show and find out what rhythm he was ruff-ing in, post it in the comments!

All the slapstick comedy in this was perfect. Especially with the drunken people. When Stephano was slapping Trinculo, he didn't slap him once or twice, or three times or four times. He slapped him over and over and over and over again, and each time Trinculo would say "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" and then Stephano would gesture like "Come here," and slap him on the other side. I liked when Trinculo had been slapped so hard he put his head in the log and he kept trying to get out and kept hitting his head on the inside of the log. I thought it was super duper hilarious when Ferdinand was carrying wood and he was acting like it was such a big deal, and Miranda came and said, "Oh, let me help you" and he was like, "Oh, no! It is too heavy!" And then she picked them up with ease and walked all the way over.

I thought that Ferdinand and Miranda's relationship was so funny because usually Ferdinand is a strapping young man, but in this version he was sort of a nerd. I don't have anything against nerds. I am a nerd myself. It was so funny because usually he is a handsome strong man and Miranda is like "Aaaaah!" But even when he was a nerd and wore roundish glasses she still went "Aaaaah!" She has never seen a young man in her life, so she thinks he is still the most handsome amazing awesome thing. You want them to get together for the entire play because you see they would be a perfect match. I liked Miranda because she was so innocent and so adorable. Miranda was island-schooled, which means she was basically home-schooled. It seemed like she was strong and not completely smart, but still not dumb. She was smart enough to teach Caliban how to speak and how to chop wood and stuff like that.

I loved Caliban and I also loved his costume. Caliban had the awesomest freakin' mask in the world. It was so creepy but awesome. My favorite part of all was when he first came out and you were like, "O my gosh! He's going to eat my feet!" He didn't really have eyes, he just had the whites and not the pupils or anything like that. That made you think that he was even creepier. When you first meet Trinculo he is walking and he sees a gaberdine, well he doesn't know what it is at first but Caliban tells him. That shows you how stupid drunk Trinculo is. But it tells you that they are both basically at the same level of smartness or drunkness. Then Trinculo opens up the gaberdine and sees what Caliban is, but he doesn't get upset because Caliban is frozen in motion. I thought that that was one of the most hilarious things in the whole wide world.

Ariel and Prospero I think could have been amazing friends if Prospero basically throughout the entire play hadn't acted like Ariel was really stupid. It could have been good because Ariel wanted to be loved and loved her master so much, but he never really returned that love until the very end. He had been nice to her for once and then she died. Dying is how somebody releases a spirit in this case. Prospero ends up kind of being happy when he breaks his wand because then he can give up. He doesn't have to make tempests any more. He can just rest.

People who would like this show are people who like scary Caliban masks, drunken butlers, and Ferdi-nerds! I think people should definitely go and see this show. It is fuh-larious, creepy, and awesome. Kids would enjoy this as well as adults. This is the first time I have seen The Tempest on stage and I was happy that it was a great adaptation.

Photos: Micah Bayer of Wreckling Press

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review of Spark at Adventure Stage Chicago

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Spark. It was directed by Rives Collins and the play was by Tom Arvetis. It was about a girl named Pandora (Charlotte Mae Ellison) and she had never met her mother (Allison Latta Lashford). Pan had two friends Farren (Mykele Callicutt) and Jude (Danielle Davis) but she did not go to a regular school or have regular clothes or regular friends. She lived underground and school was about video games. And that video game was supposed to teach you about life. They have to do all the rules; they can't go against the rules at all. Amin (Mike Ooi), who is basically the president, wanted everything to be in order. There was no disorganization. There were no books! Not even graphic novels, which I thought was the worst thing. They got information from their "gear" or Amin, which was not the most trustworthy information. Pan is trying to reverse that and trying to make everyone go back up to the surface. It is about changing the rules, friendship, and finding your inner spark. I loved this show. I was so happy as I watched it. The concept I think worked perfectly with the play and I was very pleased with how this play ended up.

I liked their idea of school, except that it was all video games. All the people in the school, the friends and Miss K (Ebony Joy), who I think was my favorite character in this whole play, were very lovable. Miss K I think was my favorite because of how nice she was and how she respected her students' secrets. I knew that Pan was glad, when she gave them a short history lesson, because they usually did the same thing each day: life's in danger!--stuff like that. The history lesson was actual learning, not a video game. You could learn from video games, but you don't need to only learn how to survive. This history lesson tells what happened and what you can change. I liked Farren and Jude. I liked their relationship a lot because they were like such good friends but they yelled at each other a lot. Their relationship with Pan was that they thought she was crazy because she wanted to break all the rules, but they still loved her.

The government here was the creepiest government you have every seen in your creepy life. The creepy government consisted of Dr. Lowell (Michael Mercier) and Amin, who was mean. They wanted complete order everywhere but they still were evil. Being in order can be a good thing, but they were evil because they tricked people and brainwashed them. The gear was basically like everything you would need to be fine underground, but it was also basically a tracking device, which they used if you were going into a restricted area or breaking the rules; they would come get you and brainwash you and make you into a thug with a creepy mask on. I did enjoy the creepiness of Dr. Lowell and Amin. I think they did a good job of making me almost scream!

I thought that Pan's family seemed like a very nice family, but I felt sorry for her that she had never seen her mom and would probably never see her. Her father Drew (Drew Johnson) was a mole. Not literally a mole. Figuratively a mole. He worked underground as a construction worker, but he constructed underground so it was a little bit different that just a regular construction worker. It seemed like it was not a good job to have because that meant people thought he had no other talents whatsoever. But he could paint constellations on walls! Who could do that but him? You could see all the time that he misses his wife. The mom wants her daughter to go up and feel the sun and see the grass and step in mud and see the stars. She wants that because she herself got to see that for a little while and she wants her daughter to have that experience herself. She basically wants the same things that any mother would want for her child, which is a good life.

Cord (Kaelan Strouse) and Tico (Blake Russell) were best friends from above who each had something special about them. They were both Outliers, also known as outsiders or upsides. Tico didn't like to speak ever since his family died. So he did something kind of like sign language instead. Even though Tico didn't have any lines, except for one, he seemed like he was the hardest character to play because he had a bunch of sign language which I think would be very hard to learn. The sign language was helpful, also, because he had a translator: Cord. Cord also had something surprising about him: he had a pen. That didn't seem like the biggest surprise but it was one for Pan because she had never seen a pen in her life because they were outlawed before she was born. These characters are important because they basically made Pan realize what was wrong and what was right.

I thought that all the gear was pretty cool. I don't know if that was the costumes (Jessica K. Wardell) or the props (Kitty Campbell). I loved their hoods and vests; I thought they seemed very sci-fi. I thought it was cool how they projected the stuff that was on their gear. (Projection design by Liviu Pasare.) I liked how Amin was projected on there like he was their newscaster as well as their president basically. And also right after I saw it I saw a sign that said Safe Passage on the street and I was like "aaaaah!" If you go see the show, you'll figure out why I screamed like a crazy person. I thought the set (Simon Lashford) was awesome. It was a good set because it reminded me of being underground and sci-fi and I loved the flapping and techie-looking doors. And the tunnels I thought were also very awesome because they looked like actual tunnels.

People who would like this show are people who like awesome tunnels, sci-fi, and video games for school. People should go and see this show. It is very funny and at the same time you are also on the edge of your seat. I think this show should be for ages 6 and up because there are some things like mother's dying that some kids might not want to hear about. I think this is a very awesome show and I loved it!

Photos: Johnny Knight

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review of Tiffin at The Langham

Once upon a time I went to a tea at The Langham, Chicago. It was a very nice place. Mies van der Rohe designed the building. And that day I found out why he is so famous: because he is an amazing architect! I don't know who designed the inside but I think he should be famous too. The decor was very modern, but it didn't feel too modern to feel comfortable having tea. When you think of tea you think of two British ladies in big poofy dresses from 1872 sipping tiny cups of tea with a little dog at their feet. This was not like that. It was modern enough that it was cool. It was not so old fashioned that you would be like, why is there a stone cherub on my table spitting water? There was nothing like that. It was so much nicer. It felt very open when I was in the space because you could look out the windows. It was just very welcoming. It looked like there were shiny gold, silver, and blue M&Ms on the ceiling. It was elegant, fun, and awesome at the same time.

The people at the front desk were very nice to us. They talked to all of us and introduced themselves. They were not just talking in a robotic voice and acting deadpan. They were very cheerful and they were also very friendly. The lady who took our coats made conversation with us and complimented me on my hat and coat. Our waiter was also very cheerful and he recommended the teas very well and explained what the different kinds of scones and sandwiches and desserts were very nicely.

The tea in the pretty glinting white pots was amazing. I got the Children's Tea, which was not too childish. It was not like strawberry and that's it. It tasted like hibiscus, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and rhubarb. It wasn't so sweet that you couldn't put a cube of sugar in it. I was excited about that because I like hearing the "plunk." When I was at The Langham I drank 2 full pots of tea. (The bathroom was also very nice.)

The sandwiches are adorable tiny little sandwiches. You can pop them in your mouth in a few bites. I didn't really like the shrimp rillette, but that is because I don't like shrimp. The other people I was with loved it, so I think you would love it too if you like shrimp. There was also a little asparagus roll wrapped in brown bread. I loved the prosciutto wrapped around it. It tied everything together. The English pea mousseline was delicious. It is the best version of a cucumber tea sandwich I have ever had. When I was finished with it my mouth was watering for more. My favorite one I liked to call "the advanced chicken sandwich." It was actually called coronation chicken salad. I did feel like it was fit for a new queen! It was so good. The curry with the chicken made a nice unexpected taste.

The scones were also very good. I had both of mine. The jasmine tea raisin scone was very good. There were so many raisins in it. And all the raisins were dipped in jasmine tea which I thought was kind of the best thing ever. The jam was also very good. I am dreaming of that berry jam on that raisin scone; it was just so good. I usually don't like jam, but in this case I did. The scone was soft and it was warm, and when you bit into you just felt like this is the best thing ever.

Here comes my favorite part: the desserts. They were just so good; they were a mouthful of deliciousness. My least favorite was the hibiscus green apple verrine because it is not exactly my favorite texture. I liked the taste, but I am not a fan of custard on its own because of its texture. When I was a baby I also didn't eat baby food because I don't like anything too soft. I loved the orange blossom tartlet. It was an adorable tart; that is why I think it was called a tartlet. The inside was just the perfect taste with the crunchiness of the crust and the smoothness of the middle; it was just so amazing. My favorite one was the violet noir eclair. You got the crunchiness of the sugar on top, the smoothness of the pastry, and inside the delicious violet pastry cream. I like a chocolate eclair just fine, but this made a chocolate eclair not seem as tasty as this amazing thing.

People who would like this tea are people who like amazing violet eclairs, advanced chicken sandwiches, and the plunk of sugar cubes when you put it in amazing tea. This would be good to go out for your birthday and do because it is kind of expensive, but you will have the time of your life!

Photos: Eric Ziegenhagen

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review of Buzz22's Ghost Bike

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Ghost Bike. It was directed Sara Sawicki and written by Laura Jacqmin. It was about a girl named Ora (Aurora Adachi-Winter) whose friend Eddie (Ricky Staffieri) had died in a bike accident. And then she goes to the Underworld to try to take him back, because a guy (Scot West) at her doctor's appointment in the waiting room said that you could just get them back. But he actually kind of tricked her. The idea of the play is that when someone dies, they are not completely gone. They are still a memory. But the problem can be that you think about them too much and that makes you sad and makes other people not able to be friends with you. Ora learns that she should think about Eddie sometimes but that she should live her life. I thought that this was a very good play, and I was crying at the end, and I am also still kind of crying now.

Even though it was very sad, there was still some funny parts. I really liked Persephone (Margaret Cook); it was funny how she said, "Well, we're kind of divorced" about her and the king of the Underworld (West). She was like, "I love this pomegranate juice, it is like soooo good." She kind of had a valley girl voice. I liked Light and Dark Hel (Lea Pascal and Thea Lux); I thought that they were really funny. I liked their double bike; I thought it was cool. It made me laugh when Ora said, "I'll trade you something," and Dark Hel whispered "Turn around!" to Light Hel. Like the second that Ora said "trade" Dark Hel was like, "Turn around." I thought Light Hel's Minnesota accent was really awesome and I liked how Dark Hel's voice was very scratchy. I thought it was hilarious when the doctor (Ben Hertel) when he was walking Ora to their room and he had this giant creepy awesome smile on his face and he kept looking back at her with the exact same expression. He did it over and over and over again. I thought that it was really hilarious when Satyr (West) got on his triple pink bike, which was a bunch of little kid disney princes bikes stacked on top of each other. It was pretty cool and awesome. My favorite line in the entire play was when the Old Ghost (Hertel) said, "We talked about how the snacks in the vending machine were kind of like when we were alive but just different enough that we would notice." I liked that so much because it was not something you would usually talk about and Ora wanted him to say, "Eddie talked about you"!

I loved the set (by John Wilson). It reminded me of an actual bike trail. I liked how on the floor there were the bike trail signs. I thought it was cool how the Underworld was like a dark creepy alley. I thought the fences were awesome because they reminded me of the dark creepy alley. I liked the ramps; I wanted to ride my scooter down one. It was super cool when they hooked up the bikes to the thingamabob so they could ride in place basically. That was really cool because it made it so you could pay attention to what they were saying while also getting the feeling they were riding bikes. I liked how all the ghosts had white bikes and everyone else had colorful bikes. I liked the bike that was basically like a canoe. They made it like a canoe because the Ferrywoman (Lea Pascal) biked along and there was a shopping cart at the front that Ora would get in and ride.

I thought it was cool how all the characters were from Greek mythology, Norse mythology, and Buddhist mythology. I thought the Cerberus was really awesome because it was like two roller derby girls (Cook and Quincey Krull) a biking guy (Alex Tey). I knew it was Cerberus because there were three of them and they kept barking and their job was to guard the gate. It would have been cool to have a three-headed dog, but they worked it out nicely. I thought that it was cool how Hel was two people because in the myth half of her is alive and half of her is a corpse. I had never heard about King Yama (West) or Datsue-Ba (Lea Pascal) but they are from Buddhist mythology. In the play, they are like husband and wife, but King Yama is also married to Persephone. I thought that was cool because they mashed Greek and Buddhist myths together.

Ora and Eddie I thought had two different types of relationship: they had a friendship friendship but they also had a little bit of a romantic relationship. I thought it was kind of romantic because of how much their friendship meant to each of them. And also when he gave this other girl (Krull) in the Underworld a necklace and they did all the same things together, I think it made Ora jealous because I think she liked him, like like-liked him. I think it was fair of her to be jealous; that was kind of a jerky move. I think he should be able to have friends in the Underworld but not give them the exact same present that he gave his friend before he died!

People who would like this show are people who like friendship, mythology, and awesome tall pink bikes. People should go see this show because it is funny, the set is awesome, and it is bittersweet. It teaches you about how to let go of somebody you love and it also teaches you about mythology in many different cultures. It only goes on until Sunday, so get your tickets quick!

Photos: Justin Barbin (www.JustinBarbin.com)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review of Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to show and it was called Peter and the Starcatcher. It was written by Rick Elice and directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers. It was about a girl named Molly (Megan Stern) who meets a boy named Peter (Joey deBettencourt). He doesn't have a name when she meets him. It was kind of like a backstory of Peter Pan. You also learn about how Captain Hook became Captain Hook and now the original Peter Pan makes perfect sense, like how Wendy's mother knows about Peter Pan. When I went to this show, I think I had the hardest laugh I've had in about 7 years. This show was funny, suspenseful, and the story I thought was very good because it was complex but a child could still understand it. Each performer had more than one character and I thought they did a good job at acting like those characters. I also really liked how they used their bodies to represent doors or ships or crocodiles, stuff like that. I think that this show was awesome, and I was still laughing even on the way home.

Molly was my favorite character. She was like an awesomer Wendy because Wendy is kind of obsessed with being like "I'm the mother" and Molly was obsessed with being the leader. I thought that was cooler because that is not usually what girls in stories are obsessed about. I also liked how she reacted to when the boys were like, "Only boys can be the leader." Her reaction was like, "No! Girls can be the leader" and they were kind of scared of her. And I was like, "Yeah!" I thought that she did a very good job seeming like she was thirteen. I liked how in the shipwreck she was like, "Er. This training bra is so itchy." I liked Molly's dad Lord Aster (Nathan Hosner). I thought that he seemed like a real dad who was like, "O my gosh. My kid is growing up." I liked how they spoke Dodo together and when Molly was translating Norse code she went into this giant squawking thing which translated into "Love, Daddy." I thought that that was really really funny. It made me laugh really loud.

I really liked the character Mrs. Bumbrake (Benjamin Schrader). I liked how she was played by a boy. I thought that that was pretty cool. She reminded me of Nana the dog because she was protective but she still loved them. I loved it when they were in the squished cabin and Mrs. Bumbrake and Alf (Harter Clingman) started singing this love song. Then the ship rocked back and forth and they were both screaming. That I thought was very funny. I thought it was really funny when they got on a raft and used Mrs. Bumbrake's bloomers for a sail.

I really liked the three boys. One of them was Peter. One of them was Ted (Edward Tournier). And one of them was Prentiss (Carl Howell). I thought that all the boys had something likable about them. I really liked how Ted was food-obsessed. I also really liked how when he saw the pineapple each morning he would bite into it and go, "owwww." I like how Prentiss was also obsessed with being a leader so he and Molly were like friends but also like enemies. I liked how, when Peter first had a crush on Molly, he was shy because you wouldn't think Peter Pan would ever be shy. Molly is an adventurous, heroic swimmer. He likes tough, I'm-feminist girls, so it makes you like him more. It shows you that Peter changes over time. He is a jerk later in the other Peter Pan story, but he is nicer before he becomes a kid forever.

Captain Stache (John Sanders) was basically like the young Captain Hook. His goal was to steal the Queen's trunk, but he is satisfied at the end because now he has a hero. He wants to be the worst villain so he needs someone to be the best hero. He is called Captain Stache because he has basically a Groucho Marx mustache. He kind of did remind me of Groucho Marx, only he was evil. He is kind of like a valley girl all the time because he liked to look gorgeous and he liked to get all the attention. He didn't like the crocodile because everyone was like, "Woah, look at the giant crocodile" and not, "Whoa, look at that awesome stache." I also thought that is was really funny when the crocodile came on and Smee (Luke Smith) said "He's chewing up the scenery" and Captain Stache was like, "Not in my scene!" (This is a case where I did like them talking about how they were actually in a play.) Smee was actually smarter than him and he liked to seem like the smartest, so he would just look over at Smee and say, in a very don't-interrupt-me-I'm-cooler-than-you way, "Thaaaank yoooou, Smeeeee." My favorite part in the entire play was when Captain Stache chopped his hand off with the chest and just said this over and over again for about 60 seconds, or longer: "O my god o my god o my god." And then he started doing things while he said "O my god o my god o my god." Like he played an invisible cups game and he poured himself some coffee and he drank it. And then he did many other things and then he fainted. My chest ached after the show because I had laughed so hard.

This was different from other big shows because it wasn't like bling! whoa! I think this could have been on a smaller stage, but I still liked how it was. I wanted to feel even closer to those characters. I wanted to feel like I was on the stage with them because it was just that kind of show. It just felt like everyone should be closer because then you would be able to just experience it more. Whenever you are at this theatre the stage is up and you are down or very much up above. You just see the back of the heads of the other spectators. But when you are in a smaller theater that goes more around, you feel more like you are part of this experience and the other audience members are sharing this experience with you. Here you feel like one among millions. That still didn't ruin it, but I still would have liked it better if you had gotten to feel more of the experience like I did at The Hypocrite's Mikado or at The House Theater's Nutcracker.

People who would like this show are people who like awesome feminist girls, bloomer sails, and valley-girl pirates. People should definitely go see this show because you get to learn about how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. I really loved this show, and whenever I think of "o my god o my god o my god" I start laughing.

Photos: Jenny Anderson