Chicago Theatre Review
Acceptance in the Kingdom of Colors
Sleeping Beauty – Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences
Forget the Grimm Brothers, Charles Perrault or Walt Disney’s fairy tale versions of this story. Marc Robin takes familiar fairy tales and rewrites them for today’s kids. In this original, updated musical children will enjoy a story that features all the whimsy of the original tale, but spiced up with modern dialogue and positive, contemporary themes. It’s a perfectly enjoyable hour of comic, melodious fun. Directed and choreographed with extra energy and attitude by Scott Weinstein, this entertaining confection is just the right respite for the Holiday Season. Following the presentation, consider staying afterwards a bit for a cast meet-and-greet, while the children have their questions about the production answered in a short, polished talk-back.
Golden Topaz the elf, created by the engaging, bilingual pixie, William Angulo, amiably welcomes the audience and introduces us to the Kingdom of Colors. It’s ruled by Steven Strafford’s often befuddled King Lapis. The occasion is the much-anticipated birth of baby Princess Amber. Ruby, Marigold and Periwinkle, the kingdom’s guardian fairies, played with zest and humor by Danni Smith, Sharrisse Hamilton and Cassie Slater, each blesses the newborn with a magical gift.
Suddenly the uninvited evil fairy Magenta arrives. She’s portrayed by and sung with just the right amount of villainy and humor by the magnificent Meghan Murphy. Banished from the kingdom from the kingdom for years, she bestows her own deadly gift upon the child. Upon Amber’s 16th birthday, the Princess will prick her finger upon the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep. Within seconds the kingdom falls into a tizzy.
Years pass quickly and we find the beautiful Tomboy Princess, played to perfection by captivating Elizabeth Telford, attempting to master deportment. She tempers the situation by trying to teach nerdy, bespectacled Prince Hunter (Garrett Lutz, in a standout comic performance) how to overcome all his phobias and allergies, but not before she succumbs to Magenta’s curse. Prince Hunter is captured by Magenta, but is rescued by the three fairies. Then he has to conquer his fears by scaling a mountain, swimming the ocean and taming a dragon before he can return to the castle. He then heroically reunites the exiled Magenta with King Lapis, wakes the Sleeping Beauty with a kiss, and helps everyone to live happily ever after.
In addition to Robin’s cleverly written script and catchy, contemporary songs, the production features an array lovely wigs and gorgeous, colorful costumes. All the sumptuous designs are shimmering and fanciful and reflect every color of the rainbow. All the fairies’ gowns, as well as everyone’s finale finery, are beautiful. But the most impressively unbelievable costume is the giant dragon, a three-man puppet that stomps down the aisle, almost filling the stage. With its terrific cast, engaging story and a subtle theme of accepting everyone, no matter their color, happily ever after never looked or sounded so magical.
Reviewed by Colin Douglas
Presented November 10-December 30 by Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL.
Tickets are available at the box office, by calling them at 847-634-0200 or by going to www.MarriottTheatre.com.
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com.