The Placer Performance Calendar

 

Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title The Emperor's New Clothes
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show August 23 - September 14, 2014
Reviewer Gerry Camp
Review

The Emperor of Kopecknia is a vain, egotistical man. Disparaging his predecessorís wasting of the countryís financial resources on such foolishness as schools and roads, he has pledged himself to giving his people what they really desire, the daily view of Himself dressed in the finest clothing he can have made.

The play ďThe Emperorís New Clothes,Ē playing at Sutter Street Theatre Saturdays and Sundays through September 14, was written by local childrenís theatre writers and producers Bob and Ro Gerould, who have 25 years experience creating entertainments in the Sacramento area.  Directed by Ro, as the story opens we learn that the Emperorís two storage closets are full to capacity and that he has no tailors to make his next outfits, his last tailor having been sent to his dungeon for displeasing him. This is a crisis because the Emperor appears to his people six times a day in different costumes and never wears the same thing twice.

Enter Fric and Frac, two talentless swindlers who survive by convincing whomever they can fool that they can do whatever task needs to be performed. Hired by the Emperorís jester, they go to work on a garment for the Emperor, supposedly made of material invisible to anyone who is stupid or unfit for his position. They promise that this robe will permit the Emperor to learn what his people really think of him.

Probably everyone know the Hans Christian Andersen story, so the fun of this delightful production is not in the suspense of wondering how it will turn out, but in the charm of the Gerouldís adaptation and especially in the hilarious performances by the cast of five.

In the role of the Emperor local theatre veteran Paul Greisen is properly pompous and despicable. Lori Ackerman, making her theatrical debut, is excellent, alternately quailing and ingratiating as the Emperorís secretary Bernie, who organizes his hectic life as idol to his people. Ryan Taylor as Fric and Jennie Vaccaro as Frac turn in convincing performances as the two swindlers who will do anything (except real work) for good meals and a comfortable living.

The outstanding performer, in my view, is Cassidy Cagney as the Emperorís jester Pilly. In this role she not only kowtows to her boss, sweeping the path before him as he struts about, she also serves as confidant to the fake tailors and recruits the audience to perform as the Emperorís subjects. She bounces around the stage and into the audience and is always fun to watch.

Eileen Beaverís amazing costumes, especially her outfits for the Emperor and Pillyís jester garb, are wonderful as they always are at Sutter Street. This is definitely a show to bring children to see. They will love the story and the performers. And adults will have a delightful time as well, seeing a new take on a story they know from their own childhoods.

Sutter Street Theatre is to be congratulated for teaming up with Bob and Ro Gerould to bring this delightful show to Folsomís weekends. I hope we will see more of the Gerouldís entertainments in the future.

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