Convert From Frank Theatre is Powerful Drama.

Photo by Tony Nelson

Convert written by Danai Gurira and playing at the Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul is an insightful look into British colonialism in south Africa. Focusing on the spread of Christianity and its effects on the native tribal people of Rhodesia where the play is set. A bit on the long side, it avoids outstaying its welcome thanks in part to the compelling conflict between Christianity and the tribal ways which is beautifully illustrated by the story’s main character Ester. A beautiful looking production that is packed with a talented cast, I found it mesmerizing.

Set in the late 1890’s, the play opens with Jekesai a young girl from the village being brought by her cousin to the home of Chilford for whom her aunt is housekeeper. Chilford is native to the area as well but he has been raised since a young boy and educated by white colonists, he hopes to one day become a Jesuit priest. Jekesai has been brought to him in hopes he will take her in and spare her from being traded as a wife to an old man for some goats by her uncle. Her aunt convinces Chilford that she wants to come there so she can learn about Jesus, which is the most important thing in the eyes of Chilford. He decides to take her in and teach her to speak English, to read, write and above all, how to be a Christian. Along with that, he gives her a new name, Ester. There is pulling over time between the Christian beliefs and the tribal ways of Ester’s people. This adds tensions between the native people and the colonizers, an increasing sense that revolt is coming. Convert is complex in it’s ideas but told in such a way that they’re made clear to the audience. There’s a simple logic to the way in which Ester interprets her world, but she is anything but simple. A woman of intelligence in a world that does not value that in a woman or a black person.

Leading the cast are Ashe Jaafaru as Ester, and Yinka Ayinde as Chilford. Jaafaru portrays Ester at first as a desperate scared girl, but as her lessons progress she has a way of conveying to the audience the connecting of dots. She reasons that because she said she wanted to learn about Jesus and thus was delivered from her fated marriage, that Jesus saved her. Later, she will use her superior knowledge of the scripture to correct a white Father. Chilford tells her she must never do that again but she debates him using logic that’s hard to argue with. Unfortunately, because of the times and her position, even though she is right, she learns that she’s wrong. Though her understanding of that again shows ultimately her higher intelligence. When the end comes she will prove to also have superior morality. Ayinde makes some interesting choices as Chilford, he’s a very moral character, but at times he uses his authority to override Ester and her Aunt. Ayinde will signal an end to his patience with a change in tone, and just for a moment let us see that as good intentioned as Chilford is, he is still just a man. His fondness for Ester and his pride in her accomplishments are shown, and though there’s never a hint of an attraction between them, Ayinde finds a way to make it felt that if there’s one woman he could love, it would be Ester. She’s the only person for whom his morality falters in the end.

Credit needs to also be given to Foster Johns as Dialect Couch. No one really speaks the Queen’s English in the play, many of the characters speak a mix of English as a second language and Shona. All amazingly consistent and credible. The other highlight of the show was the set design and lighting design. Joe Stanley’s set design is simple, everything takes place in the main room of Chilford’s home. Though The Gremlin Theatre is a relatively small black box theater, the set convincingly transports us to another country and another time. This transportation is aided greatly by Tony Stoeri’s lighting design. Stoeri creates moods with the lighting, highlighting the feel of the scenes. Creating shadows of different colors through the windows to evoke hope or danger depending on what is needed.

Convert plays through March 15th at the Gremlin Theatre for more information and to buy tickets go to http://franktheatre.org/

Pink Unicorn Moves, Entertains, Connects, and Educates. Everything Great Theatre Should Do.

Kate Guentzel – Photo by LaurenB photography 

I was really looking forward to the Illusion Theater’s production of Elise Forier Edie’s play The Pink Unicorn. Everything thing I read indicated it would be right up my alley. Nothing could have prepared me for one of the most moving evenings I’ve had in the theater all year. The Pink Unicorn is the best play about the experience of being a parent to a transgender child. It gets it exactly right, from the confusion to the mistakes, the fear for our children and the anger at those that hurt them. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. Kate Guentzel’s performance is so open, honest and relatable it moved me to tears on three separate occasions in it’s 70 minute run time. You will not find a show playing in the Twin Cities this weekend that will do more for your understanding of others or your soul.

The Pink Unicorn is a one woman show based actual events from playwright Elise Forier Edie’s life. Kate Guentzel is Trisha a widowed mother of a daughter Jolene in a small Texas town. Trisha begins by telling about the day her 14 year old daughter told her that she was not a girl or a boy but that they are genderqueer. Trisha doesn’t know what that means and like most parents who are given this news she will be playing catch up with her child for a long time. She brings us along on their journey as Jolene now wanting to be called Joe tries to form a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at their high school. We share in her experiences with her church, her battles with the school, and the non acceptance of her mother. Through everything the character remains a fallible human. Trisha isn’t written as a hero or a character that leads the way and does no wrong. She shares her initial confusion which are natural to have about something we don’t understand. She also shares her urge to go in and beat it out of her child. She says and thinks things that are not OK, just like everyone else on the planet. The play isn’t afraid to show us that side, because it also shows us the moments where she steps up and supports her child letting her love rather than fears guide her. That is the path for every parent on this journey, grapple with unknown, make mistakes, try and learn from them, and ultimately let love show you the way.

I have not seen a performance this year that connected with me as strongly as Kate Guentzel’s did. It felt like she was performing directly to my son and I. Which it turns out she sort of was as we were in the front row and the only faces she could see in the audience with the lights down. I know that connection was also because as the parent of a transgender child, I related to the character of Trisha. However, I don’t think you have to be the parent of a transgender child to feel that connection though. I think every parent can relate to the character, in fact I think every parent should see this play. We can all understand the emotions she is having and for those who haven’t been through it personally, this show can be the catalyst for empathy and the beginnings of tolerance. I have on occasion, spoken to groups about our journey with or about our son. I do that because I learned very early in the process that sharing our personal story, more than statistics or newspaper and magazine articles, is what creates understanding. With understanding comes acceptance, and with acceptance hopefully comes support. Edie has found a way to do that with her play, we know that Trisha is a character in a play being performed by an actress, but we also feel the authenticity and know that the story is true. It creates that same empathy. If you do not understand all this “trans or genderqueer stuff” do yourself a favor, go to this play, it will help you understand. And finally, I cannot close without just saying that Kate Guentzel was dead brilliant, it was a privilege to be in the front row, to be spoken to so directly, to witness such a truthful and engaging performer own a role so completely. Her Southern Accent was so well done it was a bit of a shock when the talkback began to hear her own voice.

The Pink Unicorn is playing in St. Paul at The Lowry Lab Theater, remaining performances on March 1 and then March 12, 13 & 15. General Admission tickets are only $15 (this is a steal). Click here for more information and tickets go to http://www.illusiontheater.org

The show is also continuing a tour in MN see locations and dates below.

TheaterB in Moorhead on March 7 and 8
Pioneer Place Theater In St Cloud on March 4 
Dalko Arts in New Prague on March 6
Fair trade Books in Red Wing on  March 14

Toot Productions’ Tweezer Burn at Du Nord Craft Spirits in SE Minneapolis Entertains While Leaving You With Questions to Fuel Discussion and Thought.

First of all the location Du Nord Craft Spirits was really interesting. If you haven’t been there and enjoy a fun cocktail or two I’d highly recommend checking it out. I don’t drink but I had a really tasty mocktail called the St. Paul No. 2, caffeinated and spicy, it was a delight. Secondly, this reminded me of the experimental opera I reviewed last week, though way more accessible. In the program they label the show non-traditional theatre, and that seems like an accurate description. It’s theatre but it is also art, not that theatre isn’t art in general, it is, but this is art as in creating something with your hands and materials art. The show itself is hard to explain and the more I try to explain it, perhaps the less enjoyable it would be. A lot of the pleasure I got from it was not knowing what to expect or what would happen next. I would encourage anyone who is interested in art, particularly non-traditional art, as well as non traditional theatre, to check this out.

Let me set the stage a little without giving too much away. When we arrived for the show we were given tools (see photo above), programs, and latex gloves, it was very important that you get the right size gloves, don’t lose them they are very important later. Once the show starts the three performers who created the show with the Director Eric Larson come and ask for the tools that were distributed beforehand one by one. They then very assertively describe the tools and what they are used for. And… I have to just stop there, to describe it is to rob it of its wonder. The first act is fun, but there is also an informative side in the form of audio sampled from YouTube videos about art conservation and restoration. It’s this information combined with what transpires in the second act that raises some thought provoking question and discussion points. Don’t go to this show alone, you are going to want someone to discuss this show with afterward.

So what questions does it raise, what topics does it encourage discussion of? Well to my mind there isn’t a definitive answer to that. The creators may have a concept they want you to go away thinking about, but it isn’t explicit and I don’t think it really matters, I think what is important is that it gets you thinking and discussing and exploring ideas. For my wife and I, it raised questions about whether conservation should happen or if we should consider art work to age and change, just as it’s creators do as they age. The tools we use to create and restore, do they restore things or do they change them in different ways? We see in our society this desire to hold back time to maintain things as they are even going so far as to alter ourselves with surgeries to try and stay as we were. But all you have to do is look at Jennifer Jason Leigh’s face to see that when we try and restore things to how they were, we actually alter them into something different, frequently not something better either. Maybe those thoughts were already swirling around in my head because of a character in a play I saw the night before and not what the creators intended. But, I don’t think that matters, I think the important thing is not what the answers are but what questions it raises, and the thought that goes into exploring those questions.

Tweezer Burn runs just two more shows Sat Feb 29th @ 8:00 PM and Sun March 1 at 2:00 PM. For tickets and more information go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4474865

The Old Log Theatre Opens it’s 80th Year With a Winner, The Dixie Swim Club

Photo Old Log Theatre

The old Log Theatre is the oldest professional theatre in Minnesota, staging it’s first show in 1940. 80 years later it is showing us why. 2020 saw it complete it’s dead brilliant run of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder which opened in October 2019. Now with The Dixie Swim Club they demonstrate once again that they know what their audiences want and how to give it to them. The Dixie Swim Club is a laugh out loud comedy that find humor in character, and what characters they are. A talented cast of five local actresses that give such strong and endearing performances by the time the play ends, you feel like you have spent the evening as part of this close circle of friends rather than just as an observer. Yes, this is another show you can safely take Grandma too, and you know what? That’s great!

The Dixie Swim Club written by the team of Jessie Jone, Nicolas Hope, and Jamie Wooten is not an incredibly original play. It draws comparisons to Steel Magnolias among others. It follows five women who became friends when they were on their college swim team together. The play shows us them on four of their yearly Girls Weekend at a cabin on the beach in August. The first Girls Weekend takes place 22 years after graduation and by the last weekend, 33 years have passed in all. The script does a wonderful job of giving us details about their personalities that we can follow through each time jump. Sheree played by Shana Eisenberg is the planner and health conscious one. Jen Maren plays Dinah, the career focused lawyer who hasn’t made time for a personal life. Sara Marsh is Lexie the self absorbed serial divorcee. Bonni Allen is Jeri who starts the play as a nun. And finally, Melinda Kordich plays Vernadette, bad luck follows her around like an annoying little sister that cannot be shaken off or ditched. They are all terrific, but Vernadette and particularly Kordich’s performance was my favorite. The first time we see her in each time period she has something wrong that we can see, a sling on her arm, crutches…. The story about the cause and what is happening in her life are some of the best comedic touches. But what was really impressive is the way she didn’t wallow in her bad luck. She has such an “oh well, what can you do?” attitude about some of the worst luck I’ve ever heard of that you can’t help but admire her character. She faces ridiculous adversity with self deprecating humor, it’s a much better choice than the sad sack route. It also leads to one of my favorite lines from the play when after telling them what has happened to her this year, one of the others says “your life is just one long country song isn’t it?” to which she replies, “and the hits just keep on coming.”

The Director Eric Morris, who also directed A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, does another fantastic job here. He has steered the performers towards distinct and authentic characterizations, allowing us to feel for them but also finding the humor. That balance can be tricky, and Morris shows he know how to walk that tightrope with confidence. There is an interesting choice in the changes between scenes. We have some of the performers helping to set the scene for the next time period but also  Assistant Stage Manager, Annie Miners coming through and helping make the adjustments. It’s different because she is in full view of the audience and seems to be doing a little performance. For example, the first switch she comes out while Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is playing, and she is doing a little bit of a dance while she makes the changes. This actual reminded me of a similar technique in the Guthrie Theater’s production of Steel Magnolias last fall. It threw me at the Guthrie, but this time around I think Morris made it work. First of all there is a fair amount of little things that need to be changed, glasses and other props removed from the scene. You either have to darken the stage or drop a curtain for far too long, or you work it into the show. In this case I took it to be the caretaker who comes in after this yearly reunion putting everything right. The final set change brings an unexpected sense of loss to the play, changing the tone slightly so that when we jump ahead 23 years we sense there was a loss. Lastly I want to point out the scenic and lighting design of Erik Paulson. The set is perfectly realized, it is the livingroom of the cabin they rent every year, it’s sort of standard stuff, but well executed. The neat touch is in the distance outside the cabin we see the ocean and a night sky. The trees outside the window have the palms moving in the breeze. The sunset also changes beautifully, as does the sky itself when a storm is approaching.

Plays through May 29th at the Old Log Theatre for more information and to purchase tickets click on http://oldlog.com/ .

Preview: Plan Ahead for the World Premiere of “Interstate” a New Queer Asian Pop-Rock Poetry Musical at Mixed Blood Theatre March 6-29

Photo by Rich Ryan

As many of you know my youngest son is transgender and gay. When a show comes along that represents his community, I try and make a point to see it with him if I can. Representation is an important aspect of art and culture. It’s vitally important for everyone to see themselves represented in the world around them. There are a lot of LGBTQ shows this winter and spring, all of them look super interesting. You can find my reviews for a couple of shows Superman Becomes Lois Lane which closes this weekend at the History Theatre and Significant Other which closes March 8th here and here I highly recommend both. I already had Interstate on my radar, tickets secured, and it was probably my most anticipated upcoming show based on what I already knew of it. When my community, The Twin Cities Theater Bloggers (TCTB), were invited to go and spend some time with the Creators of Interstate I jumped at the chance.

Melissa Li and Kit Yan

Interstate is the creation of Melissa Li (she/her/hers) and Kit Yan (He/She/They) and was inspired by a cross country tour they undertook in 2008 performing in 32 states. Melissa co-wrote the Book for the musical as well as the music and lyrics. She has written other musicals as well including Surviving the Nian Which was a Jonathan Larson Grant Recipient. Kit co-wrote the book as well as writing poetry and additional lyrics for Interstate. Kit’s show Queer Heartaches has won five awards at the Chicago and SF Fringe Festivals. They are currently collaborating on a new musical comedy Miss Step which from what I’ve read I sure hope I get a chance to see it on a Twin Cities stage in the near future. That’s just the tip of the iceberg with these two warm and inviting artists, if you are interested in learning more about them check out their websites http://melissali.com/ and https://kityanpoet.com/. Listening To Kit and Melissa talk about the shows genesis it’s easy to see that they have poured their heart and souls into this project. Semi Autobiographical, it deals with a multitude of themes. Their friendship, which in real life, didn’t survive their tour. Kit described Melissa as his nemesis for awhile until they finally made up. It tells the story of queer Asian duo Dash and Adrian as they tour the nation. Dash is a transgender spoken word poet, and Adrian a lesbian singer-songwriter. The tour takes place in 2008 at the dawn of social media as we know it. Their music is discovered by Henry, a south Asian transgender sixteen year old (hey my Trans son is 16) blogger (hey I’m a blogger) from middle America. Henry decides to seek out and meet his heroes. Li’s site calls it a

“Story about how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding community in the era of social media.”

melissali.com/theater

Can you see why I’m excited for this show? On top of that I have been listening to the songs the last couple of days and I really like this music. Melissa described the music as being three distinct styles. First there is the band’s songs they perform, those seem steeped in spoken word and contain some powerful messages. Secondly, there are more standard “musical” songs, where the characters sing about their feelings rather than speak them like we are used to in contemporary musical theater. Thirdly, Henry’s more electronic youth music. I’m looking forward to hearing all of it live. Kit and Melissa stressed how adamant they are about casting transgender actors in the transgender roles and casting asian actors. This speaks to the representation I addressed earlier, and an important factor in the casting.

We were lucky enough when we met up that the three young stars stopped by. Meeting them and talking with them it’s clear they found the perfect Dash, Adrian and Henry. Kai Alexander Judd plays Dash. Sushma Saha plays Henry, and Rose Van Dyne is Adrian. They range in age from 21 to 23 and a more open and engaging group of young performers you’d ever want to meet. They had just gotten back from grabbing dinner together and you could tell they were all enjoying each others company. I have a feeling they are going to rock our worlds come March 6th.

Before I let you go I do want to point out a couple of other shows opening soon that have a LGBTQ aspect to them. Uprising Theatre Company is doing a series of 4 new plays this year by transgender or nonbinary playwrights. The first of these runs March 6th through 23rd and is entitled Doctor Voynich and Her Children. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets https://www.uprisingtheatreco.com/. The other is Illusion Theater’s show The Pink Unicorn which runs Fri – Sun Feb 28 thru March 1st and Thurs, Fri, Sun March 12, 13, 15. for more information and to purchase tickets for this show click on http://www.illusiontheater.org/

Don’t wait for my review of Interstate, I’m fairly confident from what I’ve heard and seen already that this is going to be a show to remember. For tickets go to https://mixedblood.com/on-stage/interstate/ . Keep in mind that Mixed Blood have several programs to help make theatre accessible to everyone. Copied from the Mixed Blood theatre website are these programs:

RADICAL HOSPITALITY

Through Radical Hospitality, admission is provided at no-cost for folks who find cost a barrier to attending Mixed Blood. Admission is on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens two hours before every show; seating begins 30 minutes before show time and is general admission (no assigned seats).

and:

Interstate Buy One Give One

$70.00

Mixed Blood is proud to host OutFront Minnesota’s Youth Leadership Council as INTERSTATE’s Radical Hospitality partner.  When you pay it forward with a “Buy One, Give One” ticket purchase, you guarantee your own admission and underwrite admission for a Youth Leadership Council member, too.  OutFront Minnesota’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination. OutFront’s Youth Leadership Council is a year-long leadership program for a select group of LGBTQ+ student leaders who meet twice a month. The Leadership Council is crucial in the planning and execution of our annual Youth Summit which brings together more than 500 LGBTQ+ and allied students and educators from across the state to collaborate, learn, and take action.

Dog Logic at Theatre in the Round Players

Photo from Theatre in the Round

Dog Logic by Tom Strelich playing at Theatre in the Round Players (TRP) in Minneapolis is an odd mix of comedy and drama, with almost a hint of a thriller. The play is held together by the lead performance of Josh Jabas as Hertel Daggett. Hertel is a man content to keep plugging away at his failing pet cemetery while those around him try to get him to sell the land so a shopping mall can be developed. The strength of the play is Hertel’s unique character which is paradoxically intelligent and yet in some ways also a vulnerable adult. Jabas’ brings that character to life and carrying the show through what is an exhaustive run time of nearly two and a half hours including the intermission. Jabas’ performance includes many humorous monologues delivered to the audience as if we were the deceased pets buried in the cemetery. It’s through these one sided conversations as well as his interactions with the other characters that we come to know him. He has a way of baiting whoever he is talking too that is often amusing. For me, Hertel was reason enough to enjoy the show.

If Hertel, and Jabas’ performance of him are the strength of the play, it’s weakness is its length. While the character of Hertel is somewhat original, it’s plot about family members trying to get someone to sell their land so they can all get rich is one of the plots Moses smuggled out of Egypt. Miriam Monasch’s direction seems to lack the pacing necessary to add the needed tension to the real estate scheming. There were some nice moments in that plotline. But when you use something as creaky as that storyline is, you really need to move through it faster or you run the risk of your audience remembering every other film, play, radio and TV episode they have ever seen that utilizes it. I mentioned at the top that there was almost a hint of a thriller, that’s because there are a couple of moments when you are not sure what may have happened to one character and you realize Hertel has been doing something but you are not sure what. There are also some reversals that happen that for some reason don’t play as well as they should. A combination of quickening the pace and some judicious cuts to the text could have brought this play in at a more effective 1 hour 50 minutes. Aside from the bloated length of the play, the theatre was easily 10 degrees warmer than anyone could reasonably desire. A long run time and near tropical conditions will tend to zap the energy out of any play.

Creating a set for a theater in the round production can be a challenge but Latoya Dennis did a great job with this one. The circular fountain in the center gave the actors a natural flow to their movements around it giving all audience members an equal share of the performances. Prop Designer Robert J. smith did an excellent job of filling Hertel’s junk pile home with details that made the location feel real. Ian Fyfield as Fight Captain staged the few moments of physical altercations in such a way that in those moments that play came alive in a way it hadn’t for much of the run. The Sound design by Anita Kelling was at times effective and at other times perplexing. It was almost as if the audio clips we heard between scenes were to indicate the passage of some time or the era, but they didn’t match up with either of those ideas.

Dog Logic isn’t as satisfying as it could have been but I still find it interesting for the main character of Hertel, and Josh Jabas’ central performance which endeared me to him. He finds the humor in the world and has the ability to see through so much of the BS that those around him are trying to pass off as facts. To learn more about Dog Logic and to purchase tickets go to http://www.theatreintheround.org/ Just remember to leave the sweater at home.

Spamtown, USA Has Something to Say About Doing the Right Thing at the Children’s Theatre Company

Photo by David Rubene

It has been well over a decade since I’ve been to a performance at The Children’s Theatre Company and it was nice to be back. Spamtown, USA is a more serious minded show than what I would generally expect from CTC, which is why the production is recommended for ages 9 and up. Spamtown, USA deals with the P-9 strike at Hormel in Austin MN in 1985 to 1986. It deals with this serious historical event in a way that will not bore children but will teach them with humor, just enough information, and the use of characters we come to care about. It expertly shows us the event through the eyes of the young people of Austin MN. How they see the adults and how they see each other through the eyes of their parents situations. I don’t think there is a better way to share this event with young people than what Philip Dawkins’ has accomplished with his play.

He tackles the elephant in the room right away, which is the complex reasons for the strike and the points of view of the two sides. Having the adults substitute what a real adult would say with lines like “long word” “blah blah blah” “adult Words” he tells us this isn’t about the details of the event, they don’t matter. It’s not about who was right or wrong, it’s about the effect it had on the people and particularly the kids. It also places the adults in the audience back into childhood, that is literally what we heard when our parents were talking about their jobs with each other at dinner. If that seems wrong, you have to remember this was set back in the 1980’s before children became the center of families. The world was a different place back then, many things will seem strange when compared to today. You may notice a lack of anxiety attacks despite some pretty rough things happening, that again was normal in the 1980’s. It’s a brilliant technique though that reminds adults, while also acknowledging to kids, that the play understands their angle on things.

The play follows 5 kids and 6 adults as they go through the events of the strike. Amy and Travis are the star crossed high school lovers in the play, his Dad works in the plant and her Dad is Management. When the strike begins they feel the pressures to stop seeing each other and they see each others families through the lens of what they hear their own parents say. Amy has a younger sister Carol who will be someone who can ask clarifying questions to help younger audience members understand some of the details, like what a Scab is during a strike. Travis’ sister Jude is the one through whom we see the cost of the parents being so focused on the strike. She doesn’t have clean clothes or a parent there to root her on in the big tennis tournament. She shows us that in their fight for what they want, the parents forgot they were also parents, not just strikers. The final kid is Jude’s cousin and best friend Scott. He wants to be an astronaut so he can get out of Austin MN. His father becomes a scab so that his family will be able to eat. This causes friction within the two related families, and it’s through this family that we see some of the worst elements of the strike, the intimidation and destruction. By the end there was a genuine tear in my eye for several different threads in this story. It really is an amazing example of a serious play for young people that they can understand, identify with, and also be entertained by. The children learn by watching what has happened, watching their parents and watching their own relationships. They learn hopefully a different way for their futures.

The Director of the play Will Davis has done a wonderful job of keeping the story moving. The set Design by Christopher Heilman aids in this tremendously, with a set which is a serious of transparent houses, they are configured and reconfigured quickly switching the scene from one house to the next to the diner or even the factory. There is a curtain along the back wall of plastic flaps like they have in walk in refrigerators which reminds us that Hormel is the backbone of the town of Austin and the backdrop for the drama of the play. There were some nice lighting effects by Lighting Designer Karin Olson that played well with that plastic flap curtain, used to create the appearance of a large rally or the some tension causing silhouettes. I’ll just say also that the cast was very good.*

Spamtown, USA plays through April 5th at the Children’s Theatre Company for more information and to purchase tickets go to http://childrenstheatre.org/

*In general I do not review the performances of young actors. I feel it is important for young people to take part in the arts. I want them to participate in theatre because they love doing it, not for the feeling they get when someone praises what they have done. On the flip side I don’t think they need to hear criticism of their performances at such a young age. A negative comment can be hard on a mature performer but it goes with the territory, as an adult actor you have to develop a thick skin and accept that not everyone is always going to like what you’ve done. But young artists are not always equipped to deal with that. Be sure that if the acting was terrible it would be reflected in the quality of the production itself, which is what my review will be. As a rule, in a show dominated by young actors I will tend to simply avoid performance discussion in general, including the adults in the cast.