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A CurtainUp Review
The Stowaway (Or How the Mistress Quickly Went from Madcap to Majestic)

Because the truth is that a playwright like Shakespeare offers more than a good story or pretty language. Understanding his work brings cultural currency . . .especially at an early age — Kathleen Dorman, program note>
The Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, dubbed "New York City's most adventurous theater company for young people and their families," wash up at the Classic Stage Company with a Shakespeare-inspired play The Stowaway (Or How the Mistress Quickly Went from Madcap to Majestic). This breezy production is perfect for pint-sized theatergoers who have never encountered the Bard. Based on the plays and language of Shakespeare, it borrows from the plots of Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, Measure for Measure--and a dash of nearly every other play in the canon.

While Shakespeare is the real draw, the event also has puppetry and a live band onstage to keep things perky. Drew Petersen director-writer--performer has made the production accessible to anyone from age 5 to 105. In short, it's as unpretentious as a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich coupled with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

The Stowaway starts out with a pre-show activity. Youngsters are handed a small piece of rope along with instructions on how to tie various boating knots: namely, the bowline, the clove hitch, and the figure eight. Cast members wander through the audience to offer hand-over-hand assistance to anyone who's having trouble with their knots and of course to chat with the new millennium generation. No worries if you or the little ones, don't master each nautical knot to perfection. In a pirate's wink, all the ropes are gathered up by the actors and placed into a convenient pail. Then the performers quickly head back stage to transform into their dramatic characters.

The Stowaway isn't an adaptation but has its own narrative bent. It turns on the fortunes of the stowaway Dull (the pretty and feisty Ashley Renee Thaxton) who is determined to return to her homeland of Illyria. But can Dull outwit the powers that be on the Island of Hockey Puck? The old Duke has mysteriously vanished, a new Duke rules with the heart of Herod, and the people on the island live in great uncertainty as to what tomorrow will bring.

The Stowaway is a basic good-guy, bad-guy story, jazzed up with high-sea adventures. The script is saturated with imagination, a striking amalgam of contemporary dialogue and Shakespeare's most familiar lines. The Bard's language doesn't always land with its original meaning and intent, but it's fun to see and hear it updated into Americana. The show, in fact, marries Shakespeare to hockey, with many in the troupe wearing hockey gear over their nautical outfits.

This award-winning troupe have gained a reputation for offering quality theater to young audiences. They have performed at Lincoln Center, the Park Avenue Armory, Governors Island, and now at the Classic Stage. The downtown venue for only two weeks. So don't dally. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce the youngest members of your family to Shakespeare.

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The Stowaway (Or How The Mistress Quickly Went From Madcap to Majestic) Written and Directed by Drew Petersen

Cast: Molly Powers Gallagher (Fallstaff Trio, Guard, Understudy), Jocelyn Mackenzie (Fallstaff Trio, Guard), Rowan Magee (Captain Pinch, Dennis), Drew Petersen (Fallstaff Trio, Guard), Leigh Poulos (Froth, Constance the Figurehead), Neil Tyrone Pritchard (Mr. Faulconbridge, Bullcalf), Robert M. Stevenson (Understudy), Ashley Renee Thaxton (Dull), Spencer Lott (Puppeteer).
Sets: Anshuman Bhatia
Costumes: Natalie Loveland
Lighting: Jane Chan
Puppet & Props design: Spencer Lott
Movement & Choreography: Sabrina Jacob
Stage Manager: Dan Kelly
Classic Stage Company at 136 East 13th Street, East Village. Tickets: $26. Matinees for schools are also available. For tickets, visit, or call (212) 352-3101 or (866) 811-4111, or in person at the box office. Phone or online at
From 11/06/17; closing 11/19/17.
Remaining performances: Friday, November 17 at 7 pm; Saturday, November 18 at 11 am and 4 pm and Sunday, November 19 at 11 am.
Running time: 70 minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Deirdre Donovan based on press performance of 11/10/17.

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