The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Disney's The Aristocats KIDS
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show March 28 - May 3, 2015
Reviewer Gerry Camp

Theater lovers who live in or near Folsom are blessed with a continuous bounty of live shows to choose from. Harris Center provides touring Broadway musicals, youth musicals, dramas, and an array of concerts, dance performances, and variety shows. Community theaters usually offer entertaining plays and musicals well performed. But only one, to my knowledge, has great entertainment for kids almost every weekend of the year. I’m speaking, of course, of Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom Old Town.

Sutter Street’s newest treat for children of all ages is the Kids version of Disney’s 1970 cartoon, The Aristocats. This wonderful entertainment, skillfully directed by Sutter Street newcomer Alison Gilbreath, features a cast of twenty delightful performers, all under age eighteen.

The story involves the four “Aristocats,” who are fortunate to live with wealthy Madame, played by charming Jennie Vaccaro. These lucky catsmother Duchess (played opening weekend by Cassie Hamilton, who alternates with Hannah Hurst in the part) and kittens Berlioz (Shane Magennis), Marie (Caelyn Anderson), and Toulouse (Jack Shelton) live in luxury, watched over by Madame’s butler Edgar, performed to perfection by Hayden Namgostar. This young actor put me in mind of a young Joel Grey in Cabaret; he has that kind of semi-nasty stage presence and is an outstanding singer and dancer.

Edgar, who sings about how much he hates the Aristocats, discovers that Madam plans to leave her fortune to their care. He immediately plots to eliminate them by kidnapping them and leaving them far from home.

The lost cats are soon discovered by a pack of Alley Cats, whose leader, Thomas O’Malley, is played by Amanda Ramos. Ramos is always one of my favorite Sutter Street performers, and here again she steals the show, singing, dancing and acting like she owns the stage. O’Malley agrees to help Princess and her kittens find their way home, but a threat arises when a pack of dogs, led by Kyle Namgostar as General Napoleon, chases them. Marie falls into a river, and O’Malley dives in to save her, but both are finally rescued by Amelia and Abby Gabble, cute geese played by the talented Comstock sisters Mia and Zoe.

O’Malley and the Alley Cats attempt to persuade the Aristocats that the free life is best(“Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat”) but Duchess insists that they must return home. Being a Disney story, it must have a happy ending, and the Alley Cats, assisted by Roquefort, a friendly mouse (Natalie Ann Collins), and, surprisingly, by Napoleon’s pack of dogs, insure Edgar’s punishment for his evil ways.

The show, including intermission, runs about ninety minutes, and the non-stop action, singing, and dancing never slow down, so there is not a dull moment. Even children as young as five will be absorbed the entire time, and adults in the audience will be charmed by the skillful singing, dancing, and acting on display. As always, the wonderful costumes by Eileen Beaver and the uncredited animal makeup make the antics a pleasure to watch. Aristocats KIDS plays Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. through May 3.

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