Rose and the Rime
Reviewed by Terry Morgan
Sacred Fools Theatre
Through Feb. 19th
The fairy tale is an effective form of storytelling for many reasons, but the primary one is that everybody is already familiar with it from childhood. A lot can be done with this format — as in Lapine and Sondheim’s Into the Woods, where the self-reflective analysis of the characters follows the “happily ever after” curtain of Act 1. The current production at Sacred Fools, Rose and the Rime, tells a simple story with creative flair, but in the end it might be too simplistic to be memorable.
In the eternally snowy town of Radio Falls, young Rose (Amy Rapp) wants to know why things are the way they are. She pesters her uncle Roger (Andy Hirsch) to find out, and he finally tells her that a witch with a magic coin cursed the town with permanent winter. Rose sets off to retrieve the coin from the witch, and after a series of adventures, she succeeds, recovering the coin and returning bright sunshine to her town. Everything seems great when she falls in love with Jimmy (Brian Brennan), but ignored lessons from the past come back to haunt her.
Rapp is terrific as the wide-eyed Rose; she’s the ideal adventurous young heroine who becomes less so the more she matures and must deal with the adult world. Hirsch does good work as Roger, his cautionary advice underlain with remorse because he is the only one who really understands how and why the perennial winter came about. Brennan is charmingly awkward as the smitten Jimmy, particularly in a scene where he publicly sings of his love for Rose.
Director Jacob Sidney brings a stylish panache to the show, using Corwin Evans’ storybook-like video as the major focus of the set and employing the ensemble in multiple ways: as townspeople, as a pack of wolves, as stray winds. The writing, by Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews and Jake Minton, is fine and occasionally amusing, but the story feels thin, particularly for an audience of adults.
This is a pleasant show that is well staged and performed, but unfortunately it’s a bit shallow.
Sacred Fools Theater, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood; Fri.- Sat. 8 p.m.; through Feb. 2, Sun. 3 p.m. on Feb. 12 & 19; through Feb. 19. www.sacredfools.org. Running time: 75 minutes.