Tuesday, May 23, 2006

SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #5 – Reeling (The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN)

SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #5 – Reeling (The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN)

One of the most delightfully engaging, inviting productions I saw all throughout the past year was Reeling, an excellent little gem for all ages staged by The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. This regional Tony Award-winning company is perhaps best known for 2003’s Broadway family hit A Year With Frog And Toad.

Renowned for their incredible attention to detail, The Children’s Theatre Company proudly hosted the world premiere of Reeling, a show inspired by 1920s-era silent movies. In Reeling, our hero -- “The Little Fellow” -- was played with an incredibly limber grace and dexterity by Dean Holt, who evoked a latter-day Ray Bolger (indeed, Holt portrayed the Scarecrow in a brilliant stage version of The Wizard Of Oz at the very same theatre a couple of years ago). The Little Fellow is smitten with Beloved (Rebecca Lord), who wants nothing more than to become a famous fim actress, all but ignoring our hero's affections. The Little Fellow catches up with Beloved on a movie set, but not without first enduring an amazing array of pratfalls that includes being chased by an army of Keystone Kops along the way. This was true slapstick comedy at its finest.

In addition to picture-perfect casting, Reeling's silent film style also benefited tremendously from Joe Chvala’s essential foley artistry and Chris Heagle’s sound design. Director Peter Brosius brought Barry Kornhauser’s mesmerizing “silent film” love story to life, giving it a huge, sweet heart, as well as an endearing ending fit for a movie from the period. I just hope that this “silent” production has a bright future elsewhere that I can continue to “talk up.” That is why Reeling ranks #5 on my SOB Best of the 2005-06 Theatrical Season list.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #1 - Theater Of The New Ear (Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA) (May 30, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #2 – Guys And Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre, London, UK) (May 26, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #3 – Hedda Gabler (Brooklyn Academy of Music – Harvey Theatre, New York, NY) (May 25, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #4 – A Blameless Life (Steppenwolf Garage, Chicago, IL) (May 24, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #6 – “MASTER HAROLD”…And The Boys (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 21, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #7 – Love Song (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 19, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #8 - Billy Elliot The Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre, London, UK) (May 18, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #9 - The Well-Appointed Room (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 17, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #10 - Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Eugene O'Neill Theatre, New York, NY) (May 15, 2006)
The SOB Five "Worst" of 2005-06 (May 12, 2006)
SOB's Best and Worst of 2005-06 Theatre Season (May 12, 2006)


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