Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Loki & Lucy, Talespinner Children’s Theatre

(Bryan Ritchey as Loki and Melissa T. Crum as Lucy)

It’s always best if a children’s theater piece is also amusing to the adults who are accompanying the little ones. After all, they deserve something for bringing the tykes to the show, paying for their tickets, and keeping track of their shoes, etc.

And this play, a Norse myth adapted for the stage by Michael Geither, has plenty for kids and adults to enjoy. Geither’s script is quite charming, and the performance by the five cast members, under Alison Garrigan’s energetic direction, is often hilarious.

Lucy is a young girl who is fascinated by a man whom she knows is in the tree outside her home. And when she goes to sleep, the tree comes to life as the impish Loki ushers her through a dream world populated by a lot of people with too many consonants in their names.

One of these is Thorbjorn Horabrudr, and Nate Miller is wonderful in the part, using his infinitely expressive face to register all sorts of Norwegian emotions. It’s hard to take your eyes off him, he’s so consistently amusing.

Then there’s muscle-bound but not-too-bright Thor, who wields his thunder hammer with relish in the person of Nicholas Chokan. And Brittany Gaul plays Lucy’s mom and the fiendish, fox-like Fenrir with gusto.

Bryan Ritchey as the tree-man Loki is remarkably agile, entirely personable, and quite a kidder: “Pull my finger!” And Melissa T. Crum captures the girlish enthusiasm of Lucy when she finds herself in that magical world.

Garrigan utilizes dance, inventive movement, puppets, masks, and a huge blue lobster to keep things interesting for the kiddies.

However, there’s a lot of unnecessary exposition jammed into the script, with a number of names and other details that get lost in the telling. This is possibly an attempt to be true to the source material, but the actors still make this hour-long journey a fun and often laugh-out-loud ride.

Loki & Lucy
Through October 12 at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, The Reinberger Auditorium, 5209 Detroit Avenue, 216-264-9680.

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