Wednesday, November 4, 2015

reviews - THE SMARTEST GIRL IN THE WORLD - Childsplay

Osiris Cuen and Rudy Ramirez
photo: Tim Trumble
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 22nd.

"...Childsplay’s The Smartest Girl in the World by Miriam Gonzales had its world premiere this past weekend ...Twelve year old Leo Martinez (Rudy Ramirez) has big plans for his future...for Leo it’s winning a spot on the local TV game show Challenge, which to his delight, he does.  But there’s a problem.  Leo’s not altogether healthy and his hard-working parents are forced to do what they always have to do when it comes to Leo’s health and his big plans.  They have to say, no....That’s where Lizzy comes in. Little sister Lizzie Martinez (Osiris Cuen) loves her brother and wants to help.  Just because her parents said no to Leo, that’s no reason for him to let go of his plans...Lizzie will study and study, then study some more until she’s smart enough to earn a spot on Challenge for herself.  Not only will that make Leo proud and get him back on track, it could change everything for the whole family....Under Debra K. Steven’s lively direction, The Smartest Girl in the World is a fast-paced comedy with heart that zips through its running time without a moment’s pause and ends up creating the biggest smile you’ll have all day...One of the great things Childsplay continually achieves through its own high standard of professional performance is the successful illusion of watching a childhood on stage... There’s never a point when the spell that you’re not watching anything other than a child on stage is broken, and that’s something quite extraordinary.... " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"The strong bond between a brother and a sister is at the core of The Smartest Girl in the World, a smartly written one-act play receiving an expertly acted and clearly directed world premiere production from Childsplay.... features realistic characters and dialogue. The fact that Leo and Lizzy are both aspirational but also exhibit typical childlike traits adds layers of authenticity. Osiris Cuen and Rudy Ramirez lead an exceptional foursome as Lizzy and Leo. Under Debra K. Stevens' incisive direction, they are impressive playing these youngsters, with childlike expressions and voices, even though they are both in their twenties. Jamie Sandomire and Vinny Chavez complete the cast, with both playing several characters, from child to adult, with ease. These four actors have appeared at various theatres across the Valley and are some of the finest actors of their generation in town....Heartfelt and funny yet full of warmth, Miriam Gonzales' play includes witty dialogue and realistic characters who are full of determination and the desire to succeed. In a smart production with an exceptional cast and solid direction, The Smartest Girl in the World is another major success for Childsplay as they continue to present premiere productions of plays that resonate with children and adults alike."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"... “The Smartest Girl in the World”...The world Gonzales..draws on her experience as a public-school teacher to create an intimate portrait two plucky siblings determined to build a better life for their family....Childsplay veteran Debra K. Stevens directs a charming (adult) cast with Osiris Cuen as Lizzy, Rudy Ramirez as Leo and Vinny Chavez and Jamie Sandomire quick-changing through several support roles. There are some wonderful comic moments — Chavez’s turn as a game-show host makes “Hairspray’s” Corny Collins seem deadpan in comparison — but what gives the play its staying power is how well it captures a child’s-eye view of reality, where storybook imagination blurs into the more mundane challenges of growing up....these characters make better role models than any comic-book superhero."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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