Tag Archives: Brothers Grimm

Review: “Plenty of Holiday Fun”

Circle Theatre’s new show offers plenty of holiday fun

By Mark Lowry
Special to DFW.com

FORT WORTH — In the States, we like our holiday theater with a heavy dose of Dickens. But in his homeland, they prefer it with corny jokes and singalongs in a daffy fairy tale retelling, otherwise known as panto.

Fort Worth gets a taste of the form at Circle Theatre with Seven in One Blow or The Brave Little Kid by New Yorker Randy Sharp and Axis Company. Sharp and her colleagues were at Saturday night’s opening at Circle, and they have every reason to be pleased with the second professional production of their confection.

The anchor story is the Brothers Grimm tale of the Kid (a terrific Mikaela Krantz) who killed seven flies with one swat and then bragged about the feat without mentioning that the victims were insects.

That led others to think the kid had slain something much larger. Re-imagined as an urban tale, it’s narrated by homeless guys Mack (Shane Strawbridge as the most motivating emcee you’ll ever encounter) and Frankie (Eric Dobbins). The fly-slaying kid’s journey includes an Ogre (perfectly ogre-the-top Jim Johnson) and Scarlet Pimpernel (a hilariously stiff Brad Stephens).

Directed by North Texas’ maestro of farce, Robin Armstrong (who also handles costume design), Circle’s production takes some liberties with the British panto style and with Sharp’s original version. For instance, the role of the QK is meant as a “dame” role, or a man in outlandish drag. Here, Kevin Scott Keating is dressed as a foppish king, holding and voicing a sharp-tongued rod puppet for the Q part of that equation. The swap works.

Others in the cast having too much fun include Sherry Hopkins (as a formalwear Witch), Michael James (as December) and Amy Elizabeth Jones as a green vegetable kids normally don’t like.

For about the first half of Circle’s existence, it produced silly melodramas at Christmastime. It makes sense that, to close its 30th season, it would return to a delightfully bonkers way of making merry.

SEVEN IN ONE BLOW or The BRAVE LITTLE KID runs through December 17, 2011 at Circle Theatre, 230 West Fourth St., Fort Worth, TX 76102 in Sundance Square.  Call the box office at 817-877-3040 to reserve tickets or visit www.circletheatre.com.

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A Journey INTO THE WOODS

Into the Woods opened this weekend at the ArtCentre Theatre in Plano, running through August 28th.  Brad Stephens performs as the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, the musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them further to explore the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests.  The main characters are taken from the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, tied together by a more original story involving a baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, most likely taken from the original story of Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm.

The ArtCentre Theatre is located at 5220 Village Creek Drive in Plano, TX.  Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 each.  Wednesday and Thursday performances are half price.  Tickets for select performances may be purchased online for $12 each.  Alternatively, theater-goers may e-mail Brad to arrange for discounted tickets.  For a complete schedule of performances, visit Brad’s Upcoming Events calendar.  Contact the theater at 214-810-3228 for more information.

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The Brave Little Kid

Brad Stephens accepted an offer earlier this week to perform in Circle Theatre’s production of Seven in One Blow by Randy Sharp, directed by Robin Armstrong.  Stephens will play the Scarlet Pimpernel in a play sure to delight children and adults alike.  Running November 17 through December 17, 2011, the production rounds out the Fort Worth theater’s 30th season.

This “family friendly” play was written and conceived by Randy Sharp and Axis Company. It is adapted from a classic fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, featuring a blend of music, creative technology and live performance. Children (and adults) in the audience will be encouraged to participate in many of the Kid’s challenges with singing and organized “shout outs.”

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Circle Theatre website.

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