Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review of Coraline by Black Button Eyes Productions at City Lit Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Coraline. It was by Stephin Merritt and David Greenspan and it was based on the book by Neil Gaiman. It was directed by Ed Rutherford and musical direction was by Nick Sula. It was about a girl named Coraline (Sheridan Singleton) who moved to a new place which was a big house that had been separated into flats and she finds a door where there's usually a brick wall, but one time, when she opens it, it is not a brick wall. I liked how the brick wall was just a picture of bricks on an easel (set design by Ryan Emens). Then she goes inside and sees her other mother (Ryan Lanning) and her other father (Justin Kimrey). They are basically her mother and father only they have buttons for eyes. And her parents (Jennifer T. Grubb and Kimrey) get stolen and she has to rescue them. It is about love, exploring, and lying. I loved this show. I thought it was a great adaptation and I want to go see it again with my friend and my dad.

Miss Spink (Caitlin Jackson) and Miss Forcible (Kevin Bishop) are awesome characters on both sides (the other side and the real world) which I really like. And I also think that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible are kind of the heroes of the story with Coraline because they give her the stone. I really liked their song that they sang when they were the Other Miss Spink and the Other Miss Forcible. I remember the line about "burst out in sequined dresses" from the book, and that exact thing happened here. I really liked all the little scottie dogs and I liked how they all had Scottish accents. And I liked how Miss Spink and Miss Forcible just burst out in Shakespearean quotes and then would throw a knife at someone's head. And they had so many non-sequiters and it just made that scene fuh-larious. And the dogs are all sitting in the seats around you and they are talking to Coraline and they are talking about chocolate and Coraline doesn't like the coconut ones. I personally like the coconut ones, but I liked it that Coraline didn't like them because I remembered from the book that she didn't like them.

I thought the crazy man upstairs, Mr. Bobo (Jeff Bouthiette), was a great character. I really liked how his little mouse box that he had turned into a drum at the end (props by Rocky Kolecke). When Mr. Bobo finally got Coraline's name right he seemed completed unfazed by that, like he had known it all along. I liked his performance as the ghost child too. I was kind of surprised that he was good at it because Mr. Bobo was a crazy old man and the ghost child was a little girl. I loved the heads for the ghost children (Bishop, Bouthiette, and Grubb) because they were creepy but cool at the same time. They were baby-doll heads that glowed.

The Cat (Kevin Webb) and Coraline are two characters that are different from the rest because there is only one of them and everyone else, who is not a ghost, there are two of them. The other characters have an "other." I really liked the Cat's song where at certain moments he would just stomp his foot on the piano keys. So it would be kind of beautiful and then wooomph! I liked how the music was live because if it weren't, this scene wouldn't be possible, and it was one of my favorite scenes. I also liked how the Cat was one of the most hilarious characters because he is a cat and he is basically the smartest person. Coraline is also very smart, like the Cat, but she has more flaws than the Cat because she got angry at her parents all the time for not doing the right things even though they were trying. But Coraline is the hero because she saves her parents even though she is scared and she learned that she shouldn't be angry at her parents because they can't spend all their time with her because they have to work and make a living. They still love her even if they can't spend a full day with her. All heroes have to learn something, because if a hero was completely flawless, there would be no story. I think Sheridan portrayed the role beautifully and I want to see her in many other plays!

I thought that the Other Mother and Other Father were scary, but the Other Father was kind of lovable because he doesn't ever want to hurt Coraline. He tries his best, but in the end Coraline has to hurt him because he is a threat to her. I thought that the costume (by Beth Laske-Miller) that the Other Father wore was very scary. It was basically like a Creature from the Black Lagoon, except he was all white and he looked like wax melting. It was super creepy. But I loved it! But the Other Mother makes him melt, so you hate her. But you love hating her so you love that character. I thought it was cool how the Other Mother was played by a man. That is a really good choice because the character is supposed to make you think, "something is off here, but she seems nice enough." But then of course, she's not. Coraline liked the Other Mother at first until she finds out what she actually does. I thought that the Other Mother was a very creepy character and I'm super glad that they portrayed her right and I think she was perfectly scary.

People who would like this show are people who like creepy glowing baby-doll heads, chocolate, and cats. I think that people should definitely definitely definitely go see this show. I loved it so much! I think it is a great adaptation; it is even better than the movie. This show I think is good for younger kids that are very brave and that are with their parents. And this is also great for adults and tweens and teenagers too.

Photos: Cole Simon

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