Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” Heralds Great Summertime Theatre from Oklahoma Children’s Theatre
Terry Veal directs “Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” at Oklahoma City Children’s Theatre where a lot of magic happens. When it comes to entertainment that is wildly successful nothing beats children’s theatre. You can see it in the faces of the children, an audience transfixed with wonder; eyes shining. Sometimes they squirm, sometimes they are noisy, sometimes they cry, but they are always entranced with the action on the stage. They are the future of theatre; they are the audience of tomorrow and they love to see the live performances. Veal directs a cast of exceptional performers in “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. The adaptation by John Glore into a stage version delights children with the unusually funny take on the fairy tale we all used to know. These fractured fairy tales are staged in a way that encourages children in two directions: reading and theatre. Following up with audience members, parents are delighted to follow up requests for the book—and that leads to other books. Further, it leads to other plays, and that leads to other books, and plays and dare we say, culture as well as entertainment and reading as well as watching. It’s all about imagination.
The performers in “Stinky Cheese Man” are young, enthusiastic and talented. They remember their own childhoods and reach out to the children invisibly with camaraderie that is second nature. They remember the joy that is derived from such a simple cushion of love—a whoopee cushion.
The seven ensemble actors are led by a narrator who becomes an actor. John Metcalf is Jack the Narrator and The Tortoise. He is part of every tale, and slowly drags his own tail behind. Owen Whithman is The Stinky Cheeseman as well as Cocky Locky, the Ugly Stepsister 1, Owl and Cow Patty Boy. One can see from these characters the children are delighted already. Madison Carey is Ducky Lucky, Princess 2, Cinderella and Cow Butt. Danielle Pike is the Red Hen, Goosey Loose, Queen, Evil Stepmother and an Old Lady. Matthew Tuley is Foxy Loxy, Ugly Duckling, Giant, Wolf and Ugly Stepsister 2. Turner Carson is the Surgeon General, King, Cow, Frog, Rumpelstiltskin, Old Man & Legal Guy and Katy Yates is Chicken Licken, Princess 1, Rabbit and Little Red Running Shorts.
Each performer is attuned to every character and is specifically in tune with the audience. The children in the audience are enthralled with the characters and, aware that this is make believe, they still respond with trust; understanding the honesty emanating from the actors. Children’s theatre cannot be reviewed as the actor did thus and so with this or that level of expertise. It can only be judged by the reactions of the audience. The audience can suspend their disbelief with absolute certainty and without reservation surrendering heart and soul into the fantasy. What a joy it is to play for such an audience! And the joy is reciprocal as the performers can experience it in their characters without any restrictive emotions that come from looking silly. They do look silly-marvelously silly! And they perform marvelously as well.
Owen Whithman creates the malodorous Cheese Man with great skill, as his miasma wafts over the audience, almost visible; definitely detectable rather than delectable! John Metcalf more or less leads the rebellious characters throughout their story telling with great comic delight. Each performer contributes a great deal to the show with dedication from Katy Yates vamping and running, Danielle Pike, evil and adorable, Madison Carey, beautiful even as Cow Butt, Matthew Tuley, with great elasticity and Turner Carson commandingly legal.
Yet, with all of this talent, Oklahoma Children’s Theatre only scratches the surface with talent and joy for children of any age. The summer abounds with great presentations to come—Summer Camps begin May 28 and continue through August 15, 2019. Visit www.summercamps.oklahomachildrenstheatre.org. For more information about this wonderful opportunity for children.
Upcoming Productions for the season are “Treasure Island” opening June 19 through 23, 2019 and “Beauty and the Beast” from July 24, through 28, 2019. Visit www.oklahomachildrenstheatre.org/content/2018-2019-season for more information on these delightful shows. Oklahoma Children’s Theatre is located at 2501 Blackwelder on the OKCU campus. The telephone number is 405-606-7043 or call the box office for tickets at 405-952-0011. Children’s Theatre is not only where things are happening, this is where it all begins!