by Nita Congress · August 17, 2015
Deanna Frederick | Jingxi Zhang
It is very easy to forget that Oscar Wilde—prolific playwright, novelist, and poet; master of the witty epigram; and inextricably associated with literature both decadent and redolent of fin-de-siècle naughtiness—also wrote fairy tales of the utmost sensitivity and morality. Dry with a Twist Theatrics brings us, most beautifully and sincerely, three of these sad, sweet, and charming stories.
Using puppets, music, and a variety of theatrical modes of presentation, the six-person ensemble breathes life, heart, and soul into The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose, and The Fisherman and His Soul. The smartly told tales make for a lively hour’s entertainment, and the performers are ingratiating and genuine. It is a delight to watch (and hear) Deanne Marie imbue a puppet swallow with innocent nobility as she devotes her life to Geoffrey Hymers’s nobly innocent Happy Prince. Drew Paramore brings us a Harry Potter-bespectacled student who clumsily—and ultimately futilely—attempts to engage with heart as well as mind a cruelly beautiful Sandra Bates, who brings a dancer’s grace, elegance, and poise to every role she plays, including the fisherman’s legless beloved mermaid. Justin Hart makes for a stalwart and tragic fisherman in that tale, and Sabrina Michelle Wardlaw shows her range by inhabiting both a martyred nightingale and a terrifying sea witch. The music has been wisely chosen and compellingly delivered, and director/adapter Kevin P. Joyce draws out a compassionate moral linking the stories.
In all, a beguiling hour of winsome storytelling.