By James E. Grote
Directed by Shole Milos
At Lifeline Theatre, Chicago
Smart and funny world premiere fractured fairy tale delights kids
The creative folks at Lifeline Theatre have a history of producing world premiere children’s’ shows and their latest is a fractured comic spoof of fairy tales that most kids know. This is a cute, funny and delightful 55 minutes of kid’s theatre. The little ones laughed and seemed thrilled with the show. No more needs be said because children are the most honest audience there is. If they don’t like the show, they’ll shout out: “Ma, can we go home? I don’t like this.” But at the performance I saw, the kids seemed to love Jack, his parents and all the zany fairy tale characters.
We meet Jack (the winningly warm Nathaniel Niemi) who laments that he has never read nor knows any fairy tales. When he introduces his mother (Heather Currie) who pretends to be a princes and his father (Derek Czaplewski) is a frog, we understand why neither read fairy tales to Jack. “How To” books were Jack’s bedtime story material.
But when a book of fairy tales falls on Jack from atop his book self, Jack is thrust into a mysterious forest – the land of Grimes-like characters. The adventures begin as Jack learns the “rules” of traditional folktales as he goes on a madcap quest that involves funny interaction with the land’s zanies.
Jack helps rescue children lost in the woods, escapes from bully goats, and aids the three bears among other adventures Jack encounters on his fast-paced 55 minute journey toward finding his way and helping his parents become “normal” again. Jack restores the traditional ending that becomes “Happily Ever After” for his parents, himself and everyone.
The kids quickly become enchanted with playwright James E. Grote’s tight, quite funny and clever presented story. With terrific costumes (by Jana Anderson) with the vivid props and set (designed by Alan Donahue) add zest to the fairy tales that come alive. Lifeline Theatre’s production values and the terrific comic skills by the cast makes for a delightful children’s show that is also adult proof. Once more Lifeline theatre scores with this wonderful kid’s show. Take the kids.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: January 8, 2012
For more information, checkout the How To Survive A Fairy Tale page on theatreinchicago.com
At Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL, call 773-761-4477, www.lifelinetheatre.com, tickets $15, Saturdays at 1 pm, Sundays at 11 am & 1 pm, running time is 55 minutes without intermission, through February 26, 2012