The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title The Commedia Princess and the Pea
Organization Roseville Theatre Arts Academy
Date(s) of show April 20 - May 18, 2013
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb
Review I looked around the theater, and I was the only adult not accompanied by a child. I slumped down in my seat, and waited for the theater to darken. I was waiting for the start of The Commedia Princess and the Pea, an improvised update of the fairytale, roughly in the form of Commedia dell’Arte (broad, improvised humor with stock characters – in this case, minus the masks). The show was performed by The Treehouse Players, four adult actors who perform plays primarily intended for audiences of children.

The show started with the players, not yet in costume, storming out onto the stage like cheerleaders at a football game. They shouted and cavorted to get and hold the attention of the children, and it appeared that they succeeded. After a reminder of the theater’s prime directive, “You must have fun,” they proceeded through a succession of costume changes, arguments, dancing, singing, and humorous patter – all very loud and raucous. Although the show was improvised, there was a structure and sequence to it that included a large measure of audience interaction, which most of the children around me seemed to embrace with enthusiasm: answering questions posed from the stage, standing up and dancing in place with the performers, and even enjoying a misting by actors who ran up and down the aisles with water bottles.

As is so often the case with children’s productions carried out by adults, there was a lot of humor that went over the kids’ heads, and I found myself laughing throughout the show. For example, there was the best imitation of the Muppets’ Swedish Chef that I’ve heard in a long time – something which I don’t think the children could have appreciated. But I felt that all but the very youngest were very involved throughout, to the point that it seemed that a large proportion of the audience followed the actors out to get their autographs when it was all over. If you have children – preteen and younger I would say – take them to see the show: you’ll all have a good time.

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