Jackie Houchin Review Con't.
It has everything you could wish for; a charming story with a little bit of shivers, singing and dancing (accompanied by writer & pianist, Richard Levinson), fun costumes, a sister and brother, a mom and dad, a very funny dog, and a box of magical crayons.Oh, and did I mention the yummy warm pancakes, cold lemonade AND crafts that you will find backstage after the show?
Playwright Diana Martin (who also plays the Mother Clam) introduces the story then lets the characters take over. Eleven-year-old pretty and precocious Priscilla (played with charm by Courtney DeCosky – who is a deal more than eleven, but you believe her anyway) begins by reading the typical school report, "How I spent my summer vacation."
Her account begins just as the family arrives at their coastal Maine cottage. Priscilla – a budding young artist – hopes to draw many beautiful pictures while she's there, starting with the sun setting on the sea in their little inlet. Her Mom (the radiant and very pregnant, Natascha Aldridge) hopes to relax and read. Her Dad (Stephen Simon) plans to spend some quality time with Billy, her little brother (Matt Valle).
Oh, yes ... her brother. Typical of little brothers, Billy is pesky, silly, loud, hyper, clumsy and forever hungry. In "My Bratty Little Brother," Priscilla sings "How can one boy take so much joy... and annoy?" Matt, like Courtney, plays a little kid so convincingly, you forget he's probably in his twenties.
The last member of the family on this idyllic summer trip is Billy's dog, Roscoe, played wondrously, creatively, and hilariously by Victor Isaac. Roscoe is a scene-stealer when he's active. (He sleeps a lot, often in places where people trip over him.) Isaac has a dog's wiggly movements, joyous barks, and rascally ways down pat. Bravo!
Before bedtime, Dad begins a scary story about the local Loch Ness Lobster (handed down from Great Aunt Phoebe, whose cottage they're in), but Mom makes him stop because he's "scaring the kids." However, once in bed, Priscilla dreams (in spooky half-light) the whole story of Aunt Phoebe, the fisherman she loved, and the lobster with the great claw who "ate" him.
Priscilla awakes to a rainy day, but her disappointment disappears when she discovers a box of Aunt Phoebe's old crayons. She begins to draw a picture of her "Perfect Day" which is sunny and bright with flowers and birds and trees.
Billy and Roscoe arrive and want to go downstairs for their special first-morning breakfast of pancakes, topped with the blueberries their neighbor, Mr. Berrymore (Brian Wallis) gave them. But Priscilla wants to finish the picture first.
And then ... no, oh no! The three of them suddenly....
What an exciting and scary adventure they have! And best of all, they each (including Roscoe) get to "save the day."
Oh, and yes, the Loch Ness Lobster does make an appearance, as do a clutch of cute clams (played by Kaylena Mann, Lily Donnelly and Ben Freiberger), and "a fruit with a suit that is beautiful blue" (Wallis, looking vaguely like Elvis) – who all sing and dance.
All the action, excitement, music, and fun keep even the youngest child in the audience entranced. And wisely, the show runs just under one hour.
Be sure to watch for Roscoe's special sing-a-long at the end, and then follow the crowd to the fun and food backstage.
Playing Saturdays at 11:00 AM through July 17th. Tickets are $12.00, but family & group discount rates are available. Visit www.thegrouprep.com or for more information, call (818) 700-4878
The Lonny Chapman Theatre is located at 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601 in the NoHo Arts District.
-Jackie Houchin < back to reviews