Shaw’s WILDE TALES; Avenue “Q” it ain’t! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Oscar Wilde was a creative writer whose children’s stories were decidedly not Victorian. For SHAW and director Christine Brubaker, the half-dozen actors humorously present vignette-style stories that also include hand puppets, ridiculous costumes and theatrically delightful commentary. One of the major characters is an item of fireworks with a ‘Sheldon’ of “Big Bang Theory” Asperger’s psyche. His (it’s) portrayer is Sanjay Talwar and his demeanor and facial expressions underscore all his dialogue. The nightingale puppet is voiced and warbled by Emily Lukasik whose vocal control is operatic in tone and purity.  Photo courtesy of David Cooper

Sanjay Talwar as ‘pffft” and PJ Prudat as the dragonfly

            The philosophies expressed may be a little too subtle for younger audiences, or for the summer camp kiddlies in Row “A” who are an intrinsic part of the performance. Their participation evokes a certain Stratford presentation of last year wherein the audience was given bags of props to counter a bland stage.
The plots involve the already-mentioned fireworks, one of whose detonations is unfortunately, a ‘pffft’. Then there is a princely statue who still maintains an interest in the well-being of his living subjects. A birdie is his straight man and facilitator. Marion Day is the statue while Kelly Wong is the helpful feathered organism. A sought-after rose expresses the shallowness of a mercenary attitude and the difficulty such a persona causes others who care. The situation of a possessive property owner vis-à-vis two little children and then the effect of a third youngster has the most overt message but it carries a metaphysical moral that somehow is heavy-handed. The frog interpreter is Jonathan Tan and his ‘ribbit ribbit’ greeting is one of the least circuitous character references.
Given the anticipated audiences, the play runs for just one hour, but the laughs and some of the lines will be a memorable experience. One such quote is “looking at a thing is different than seeing it! “ –  words to live by.

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