Tuesday, February 2, 2016

reviews - PERÔ, OR THE MYSTERIES OF THE NIGHT - Childsplay

Katie McFadzen and Jon Gentry
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 February 7th.

"Based on a French story, developed on stage by a Dutch theatre company with a setting in Italy, translated into English and spoken with an American voice, Perô, or the Mysteries of the Night is truly international. .Told with creative puppets, presented with playful humor and inventive, imaginative settings, and narrated by all four members of the cast, Perô is the story of a blushing baker who hides a strong though secret love for the laundry lady next door. But there’s a problem. They can rarely see each other.... All four members of the cast sing the songs and narrate the story as the plot unfolds, though each has a distinctive voice....Director Huisink changes the play’s distinctive European rhythm to reflect the changes of mood in a way that wouldn’t always be tolerated in a new and more obviously commercial American production. ...Perô, or the Mysteries of the Night is a strikingly, touching story that adults will undoubtedly appreciate for its design and artistry, though occasionally you may wonder if its particular style and European flavored tempo will be as welcoming for North American children used to seeing their entertainment made intentionally more obvious. I hope it is ..." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"... Perô, or the Mysteries of the Night is a unique production that features puppets, music, and a cast of four to tell a fairly simple love story. Childsplay’s collaboration with the Dutch theatre troupe Speeltheater Holland, while intriguing and enthralling for more open minded theatre goers, may be a bit too avant-garde for younger audience members but those who are willing to let their imaginations soar will find much to like. The play follows a simple, timeless and often told love story about a shy man who is in love with a woman. But he finds his heart broken when he isn’t able to speak his thoughts and things don’t go the way he plans. ... It is charming, beguiling and also part musical with operatic flourishes and a huge dollop of romance...the European flair and touches of commedia dell’arte in the production may be new and different for some theatregoers, and catch them off guard, Onny Huisink directs with a high sense of theatrical fluidity that is captivating. ...While it is an intriguing concept, and something that you most likely won’t see in town from other theatre companies, the sophisticated theatrical approach may come off a bit pretentious or even confusing, especially for those who are used to more traditional (ie: “American”) children’s theatre productions. But Perô is full of creativity, and this simple, thoughtful and enchanting story will peak your imagination and engage those with curious minds. -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...“Pero, or the Mysteries of the Night,” is a marvelously well produced and entertaining delight that tells a simple fairytale but the wondrous staging leaves you clueless about the next exciting twist or turn is coming.  This 70-minute production held young audiences at the opening performance in quiet awe afraid to make a movement or say anything for fear of missing some clever or creative tidbit.  The play also enchanted the adults equally. ...the story evolves with wry sophistication that charm the children and fascinate the adults....Kristen Drathman and Dwayne Hartford essay the Sun and Moon as they stunningly narrate the story through catchy and attention getting dialogue delivery, clever movement, and stalwart singing of some pleasant little tunes that add to the production’s appeal.  Playing Pero is master storyteller Jon Gentry while Katie McFadzen is the sweetly coy Colombina.  This pair work beautifully together as they craft believable characters the kids admire.  Add marvelously cued lighting, charming scenery, and pleasant musical interludes to craft a brightly entertaining production. “Pero, or the Mysteries of the Night” is another in Childsplay’s long line of enchanting productions that charm children and entrance older audiences with their endless creativity, spark, and stylish production values." --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

"... a whimsical musical that is somehow both artsy and down to earth at the same time....The songs, by Guus Ponsioen, are kid-friendly without being “Barney”-simple, mixing sweet lullabies with jaunty tavern tunes, and the scenic design, by Huisink, is a dreamy abstraction with a big wow-moment surprise that draws oohs from the audience. The overall effect is the stage equivalent of a very un-Disney European animated film, but any fears that “Perô” would sail over the heads of the youngsters were allayed by their rapt faces as they craned to see over the heads of the many adults on opening day."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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