Lobster and Canary were entranced yesterday evening by Shona Reppe performing Cinderella as part of the New Victory Theater's Scottish Festival.
In the Duke on 42nd Street's intimate black box theater, Reppe had a full house completely enthralled from the moment she walked on. Somehow she transformed one simple hand-held puppet, one pair of gloves, and an ingeniously designed counter-top (with lots of pop up drawers) into the world of the ash-girl and her nasty stepsisters. The audience-- mostly very small people aged 3-7 and their parents-- oohed and aahed, we blew on the magic handbag to produce Cinderella's dress, we clapped and laughed. When Reppe, using just phosphorescent cut-outs in the dark to depict Cinderella dancing with the prince at the ball...well, then we were all of us in fairyland.
Reppe's sly,impish performance was-- to put it shortly-- brilliant.
Her collaborators also deserve applause: Ian Cameron, Tamlin Wiltshire, and Gill Robertson (founder and artistic director of the Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, which is putting on Hansel & Gretel as part of the New Victory's Scottish Festival).
Special kudos to the New Victory Theater, the groundbreaking organization dedicated to the best in children's theater from around the world, and also to the Jim Henson Foundation for its support of the production.