Local children participate in 'Cinderella Goes Disco' at Mill City Productions in North Adams.
Welcome to The Mom Review!
Throughout the Berkshire summer season, my 8-year-old daughter Noelle and I will be attending family-friendly theater, dance, art exhibits, etc., and reporting back on what we think about them. I will write the bulk of the column and Noelle will wrap things up with her thoughts in her very own "Now for Noelle" section at the end. We hope this will help you decide what to do with YOUR kids this summer.
We kicked off our adventure Friday, June 13, with a bang ... and a disco ball! We went to see Mill City Productions' presentation of "Cinderella Goes Disco" in North Adams.
Mill City stages its shows in the Heritage State Park building next to the visitors center, near Freightyard Pub and the North Adams Museum of History and Science. I've seen a couple "grownup " shows there, but this is the first "kid" show I've seen with Noelle.
I had a feeling she would like it when I read how interactive it would be, that kids would be invited on stage. Noelle's hand is always first in the air when audience volunteers are sought; within the last year she has done science experiments onstage during a live presentation at the Boston Museum of Science and sang and danced with Jack and Annie at a "Magic Treehouse" event at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington.
Plus, even at 8, she has had this obsession with disco lately. I'm not sure where that came from.
"Cinderella Goes Disco" is written by Shubert Fendrich, and the Mill City performance is directed by Courtney Shapiro, who says in the program that "just because you are a grown-up doesn't mean you have to lose who you were as a kid, or lose what you love." That's very true, and while the show is very clearly geared toward young children - I would say ages 4 to 8 will enjoy it the most - there are plenty of moments that will make the adults chuckle.
Even the plot itself is amusing: The Fairy Godmother (called "Persephone" here), while trying to convince Cinderella to go to the big disco that evening, tells her about how her magic has worked well with two other princesses: Beauty from "Beauty and the Beast" and Aurora from "Sleeping Beauty." So it's like two fairy tales within a third fairy tale.
Now to the interactive part: From the very beginning, kids are invited to be part of the show. The two boys sitting in front row center were called up immediately to help Cinderella sweep and then again to portray lawyers who break the bad news to Beauty's mother that there is no inheritance. (You just have to see the show to understand; I'm not going to spoil every story line here!) Noelle and a couple of other children then jumped on stage to be guests at the Beast's ball, where he and Beauty very quickly fall in love. Noelle then volunteered again with another boy to play Sleeping Beauty's parents, the King and Queen, and the two did a very convincing job of falling asleep in their chairs when the spell was put on the kingdom. A group of children pretended to be the thorn wall which the Prince must cross to reach Sleeping Beauty, and then Noelle and most of the other kids were able to dance on stage during the disco ball scene. (Make sure you check out the video of that below!)
The actors seemed very well-prepared to deal with whatever the kids threw at them, taking the chance to hone their improvisational skills. But I will emphasize that the interactive part also works best with kids 4 and up: The younger ones aren't quite able to follow the directions, and while they are surely cute, it makes it a little more difficult to watch. But you know your kid best: If you have a 3-year-old who just loves the spotlight and listens well, send him on up!
Overall, the show was cute for younger kids, mildly amusing for adults, and a perfect length (45 minutes), especially for a 7 p.m. show. Older kids might be bored, so watch how you mix siblings at this one. The show plays again today, Saturday, June 14, at 2 and 7 p.m.; then Sunday, June 15, at 2 p.m., then next weekend at 7 p.m. Friday, June 20; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, June 21; and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 22. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $4 for kids.
Now for Noelle: I never saw that coming, how they put all three fairy tales in one fairy tale. I'm glad I just wasn't sitting through one big performance. I got to be part of the performance, which was really fun. I liked how the people in the play asked for your opinion, like "should we do this" or "should we go there." My favorite part was when I was the queen. That was really fun. I would go see it again!
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