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|A CurtainUp Review
By Amanda Cooper
It was also pleasing to have a female protagonist who does not yearn for a prince. Instead we have Bela, played earnestly and solidly by Elizabeth Daniels, who is an upbeat, intelligent, independent teenager who lives a seemingly normal life with her mother. Instead of the fairy tale ending with the prince, this tale brings the magic of imagination into the life of a street smart modern kid.
The title comes into play as the story moves forward and a tropical parrot flies into Bela's urban house. This parrot comes bearing a tale about a princess with the same name as our heroine. Simultaneously, the thick, privileged son of Bela's mother's boss, BB Jr., has aspired to win Bela's heart by inveigling his way into her house. BB Jr and his sidekick Grovel (played by Matthew Dellapina and Paul Iacono respectively) are the comic relief for the kids. Their doofus-humor one-dimensional but solid. To fill the stage throughout the show, there's a chorus of parrots headed by graceful Renoly Santiago, as well as an ensemble of other characters that include animated furniture and appliances.
The score by Talking Band's Ellen Maddow is upbeat, the music filled with sweet rhymes and staccato phrasing. Though perhaps simplistic at times, it is always pleasing to the ear, and never gets in the way of the story's forward progression. Writer/director Paul Zimet's script, like the stage movements, os purposeful and direct, though not as robust as the visuals. The bright colors and funky designs of the costumes and puppets secure the individuality of the characters.
Though this may not be a groundbreaking piece of family theater, quality performances for New York City youngsters are a limited commodity. Therefore, before you buy tickets to take your kids to The Wiggles, consider The Parrot instead -- but don't wait too long since it's scheduled to close on February 22nd!
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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