Review of Puss In Boots
By Moses Goldberg
Co-Directed by Sasha Guleff & Yave Guzman
For tickets / schedule :
Cloverdale Performing Arts Center
RUN: July 29 – August 7, 2016
RATING: 3.5 of 5 stars
(July 30, 2016)
Puss in Boots at Cloverdale Performing Arts Center is a delightful way to introduce children to the theatre. Drawing from the beloved fairy tale, the production is less than an hour with no intermission to distract youngsters in the audience, and includes constant interactive elements with the actors. When attending, you may find yourself called upon to become a cat, or tell the King that you work for the Marquis. The cast keeps to simple concepts, not rushing scenes, and presents of the play within a play structure in a manner that is understandable to the newest theatre enthusiasts. Thanks to donors, 150 tickets were given to The Boys and Girls Club, Cloverdale Library, and Food Pantry families to bring the next generation into the theatre. Mentoring children and giving them the opportunity to see friendly, short plays such as this one is vital to the continued existence and appreciation of theatre.
Ian Munc capers as Mr. Dupress / Puss, his warmth and excitement encouraging enthusiastic responses from the audience when called upon to help him defeat the Ogre. His interpretation of Puss is innocent hope in a happy ending, rather than the calculating animal I have seen in other productions. Olivia Guleff as Fitzgerald and Robert A. Rodriguez as Wisteria demonstrate that actors do not always get along, before transforming into Simple and Princess Clarissa who adore each other. Gender bending the traditional princess and hero roles not only adds a layer of comedy, but shows children in the audience that they do not need to be constrained by gender in what characters they can play and who they become.
Long-suffering John Slinkert as Mr. Jones / Ogre / King hops in and out of roles, after losing an argument that someone else should play the Ogre. His King is pompous and poised, with a kind heart, and the Ogre deliciously evil. Not only is the play meant for a younger audience, it is co-directed by teen Sasha Guleff, who was enthusiastic in requesting the opportunity to work with Yave Guzman.
Puss In Boots is the perfect production for young children and families, or those who are ready to let their inner child out to play. Fairy tales teach important life lessons, and what better place than the theatre to present them, where actors are real people, rather than images on a screen. It’s time to take the iPad away and bring children to the theatre for an engaging afternoon with a clever cat.