Fun! Fun! Fun! Dark, adult, some violence, some twisted perspectives, yes, but thoroughly entertaining every minute, cannot wait to go back to see it again next weekend and take a few more friends.
By Carol Edger Germain
Writer Chelsea Sutton was the master puppeteer of this script and gives us a rowdy, colorful, hysterical, nightmarish, distortedly familiar adventure that left us laughing, cringing, and wanting more.
I must admit my Disney-influenced recollections of Carlo Collodi’s “Adventures of Pinocchio” I knew as a child did not include memories of the deeper, darker elements of the original story, and now I have those memories indelibly etched in my mind, (especially the image of poor Pinocchio getting his feet burned off) but surrounded with laughter, color, and clever interpretations and twists on this treasure. As always, I gravitated toward the front row and when things started flying and sliding and splattering was questioning my choice, but it turned out it was only candy, balloons, and a teeny splash of water, and “up close and personal” was a good perspective.
In this telling of the tale, Geppetto is a snarly drunk and having a son doesn’t appear to be on his bucket list. Nevertheless, he ends up with Pinocchio and it’s all downhill….and uphill…and down again, from there, with various puppetry techniques, projected images, 3D sequences, creepy masks, interactive scenes, and a talented cast of characters guiding the rollercoaster at this adult-rated version of Pinocchio’s “Funland” (no children’s tickets available, too soon for them to be exposed to a simulated orgy, although they’ve probably seen it already in music videos).
We received 3D glass along with our programs, and the anticipation of their use was on my mind throughout this silly, somewhat sick (in a good way of course!) adventure, but it was near the end when we got to use them, and the wait was worth it. Another fun detour on a ride that already seemed to be bumpy and unpredictable. A subtle romance, balloon animals, “dolls,” donkeys, pinatas, and more, more, more, don’t want to spoil it too much. Just go! Relax and let the show begin, and be a kid again (in a way I hope you weren’t behaving as a child; if you were, you need a spanking). And if you have a cricket, bring him, he’ll love it (but don’t expect to be taking him home and hearing him chirp again).
I am so glad to be introduced to this company of artists (Rogue Artists Ensemble) and this theater (Bootleg Theater), amazed I haven’t been here before, and sorry I missed past productions. I will be looking forward to their next venture. Parking was easy on the street (I understand there’s a lot across the street as well, but I didn’t check it out, the show was early, 7:00, so no problem finding a spot). Also, there’s a separate space at the theater that has live music, a band was playing when we left (unfortunately we could not stay for the music), and the staff was very friendly and accommodating. An easy drive from Pasadena, and I’ve discovered other venues and restaurants in that area lately.
Ben Messmer (Geppetto)
Nina Silver (Blue)
Veronica Mannion (Wick)
Willem Long (Cat)
Stephanie O’Neill (Fox)
Rudy Martinez (Pinocchio)
Lisa Dring (Pinocchio Puppeteer)
Mark Royston (Pinocchio Puppeteer)
Miles Taber (MC of Funland)
Paul Turbiak (Fire Eater)
> My personal favorite character was Wick, played by Veronica Mannion – the quirky, imaginative, energetic, and ready-for-anything BFF everyone needs to have at least one of.
Wood Boy Dog Fish
• Written by Chelsea Sutton
• Based on “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi
• Directed by Sean T. Cawelti
• Original music by Ego Plum and Adrien Prévost
• Presented by Rogue Artists Ensemble in association with the Bootleg Theater.
2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Performances: Nov. 13 – Dec. 12.
• Thursdays at 7 p.m.*: Dec. 3, 10 (dark Nov.. 26)
• Fridays at 7 p.m.*: Dec. 4, 11 (dark Nov. 27)
• Saturdays at 7 p.m.*: Nov. 28; Dec. 5, 12
• Saturday at 2 p.m.: Nov. 28 ONLY
• Sunday at 2 p.m.: Nov. 29 ONLY
(*Please note early 7 p.m. curtain time for all evening performances)
• General admission at the door: $25, with advance purchase online: $23.
• Seniors and Students at the door (with valid ID): $20, with advance purchase online (with valid ID): $18.
• Saturday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m.: Pay-What-You-Can.
Also, Goldstar.com has discount tickets available for some dates.
Purchase tickets here.
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