Joy is rolling off the stage at Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre.
Pure, silly, fun unadulterated joy. It bursts out of the company’s current offering, “The Light Princess.”
The 19th century fairy tale by George MacDonald has gotten a musical update by Lila Rose Kaplan and Mike Pettry, and we are better for it.
The Michelle Milne-directed play reaches beyond the fourth wall to bring in children and adults. That starts even before the curtain comes up, when audience members are invited on stage to strut their hula hooping expertise (a word of warning: don’t try to compete with kids under 10; they are killer hula hoopers). That simple exercise sets a we-are-all-in-this-together tone that lingers throughout the production.
The fairy tale is about a princess who is cursed by her wicked, witchy aunt — she has no center of gravity and floats among the clouds. To compound her dilemma, her emotions are also weightless; she feels no joy, no sorrow, no love. If her parents can’t find a solution to her problem by the time she is 16, that wicked aunt takes over the throne, throwing aside her sister and taking her place beside the king — a place she has long lusted after.
Milne had the princess carried high in the air through much of the production, and Grace Otto gave the character a grace and guilelessness that was perfect for the princess.
The poppish songs are funny and support the plot. And while there was some uneven acting and singing, it made no difference: This infectious cast was having way too much fun to throw a damper on the play.
It’s near impossible not to feel giddy with joy when Katie Burke and Nicole DelPrete were on stage. They played Wise One No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, dispensing not-always-wise advice to the king and queen. They were goofy as all get-out and you love them for it. Gretchen Wirges’ queen was deliciously over the top, and David Gunther’s king was appropriately befuddled.
The mean-spirited witch was down-right scary, and very funny in Julia Balestracci’s talented hands. And Aubrey King plays the prince who might be able to ground the princess with a smooth determination.
This family show is primo entertainment for children, but there is no way adults will leave the theater without feeling the joy, as well.
Kathleen Allen is a former Star reporter.