Friday, July 10, 2009


Goldilocks is out of this world
Written by Kathleen Szmit

Kids of all ages will enjoy unique twist on familiar fairy tale

There is much happening on the stage of the Performing Arts Center at Barnstable High School. Sgt. Frank Rizzo has lost his coffee cup, Goldilocks has been arrested, and there are rampant rumors of an alien invasion.

If it sounds crazy, it’s not. It’s all part of the Barnstable Summer Family Theatre production Goldilocks and the Three Bears From Outer Space.

Written and directed by brothers Fred Sullivan, Jr., and John Sullivan, head of the Barnstable High School Drama Club, Goldilocks is the first of three BSFT shows at BHS this season, and includes a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters who are part of a fun, quirky adventure.

Unlike the fairy tale of old, this Goldilocks features a feisty heroine determined to prove that the Bear family of Kalamazoo are really aliens who are part of a plot to overtake the world.

Goldilocks shares her theories with the hapless Sgt. Rizzo while being questioned after breaking into the Bear home. When agents Dana Mully and Foxy Sculdor of the FBI get involved, mayhem ensues, with much hilarity.

Throw in several dead celebrities, an evil alien emperor, and myriad Meeps and you’ve got quite a scene.
Anastasios Pappasotiriou is terrific in the role of Sgt. Rizzo, while Jeremy Peacock is quite funny as Deputy Joe Cavanaugh. Catherine Macallister and Tom Myers do a great job spoofing The X-Files as Mully and Sculdor, and Duncan Macallister, Elisabeth Moore and Ryan Chevalier draw lots of laughs as the Bear family (Chevalier shares the role of Junior with Gregory Keating).

High praise goes to Michelle McGaughey for her turn as the spunky Goldilocks, and also to Mike O’Toole for perfectly capturing the maniacally eccentric alien ruler Xanderararar the Majestic.

While the set, created by McGaughey and Matheus Fiuza, at first seems simple, the onstage visuals get more impressive as the plot thickens, and are greatly enhanced by lighting from Tristan O’Toole and Chad Goddard.

Costumers Kara and Barbara Felegian have done a superb job of putting together official-looking police attire and Goldilocks’ cute couture, but it’s the Bear family that gets my applause for being cuddly and creative. Xanderararar’s style is also commendable.

I don’t want to give away too much of what happens in Goldilocks, but it’s apparent that the Sullivans knew not only their science fiction, but also children’s fairy tales, and it paid off.

Although some puns may be lost on kids unfamiliar with the X-Files, Yogi Bear, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, they’ll appreciate the show’s silliness and physical comedy. Adults will enjoy the wry humor infused into the script.

Parents looking to spend a fun evening out with the kids and learn the “tippity-top secret” ending of Goldilocks and the Three Bears From Outer Space will want to see this show.

Goldilocks can be seen at the Performing Arts Center at Barnstable High School on West Main Street in Hyannis at 7 p.m. July 10 and 11, and 14 -18. Reservations may be made by calling 508-771-6246. All tickets are $10.

Don't miss Shakespeare by the Sea! The Critics love it!

Bard tragedy showcase for talented youths

July 07, 2009

HYANNIS — The weather was beautiful at Aselton Park Sunday night, and Shakespeare by the Sea's "Romeo and Juliet" for the town's Harbor Your Arts program proved a fine showcase for the talented actors of Barnstable Summer Family Theatre.
The outdoor venue did, though, present challenges that weren't present to the young actors when the Barnstable High School Drama Club performed the show indoors last spring. Some of the dialogue got lost when the wind assaulted the actors' microphones. But the sounds of dogs barking and car horns honking were not enough to drown out the actors' impressive command of Shakespearean English.
The cast and director Ed O'Toole make the most of the outdoor venue. Having the actors enter the stage by cutting through the audience — as though the crowd were part of the play — is a great way to keep the audience engaged and prevent the distractions of the outdoors from becoming overwhelming. The play runs about two hours and moves at a steady pace.
O'Toole's decision to sprinkle a few modern touches in the tragic love story makes for some funny surprises. There is, for example, a Shakespearean interpretation of "The Hokey Pokey" ("'Tis what it's all about") performed at the Capulets' party. The dance scenes' choreography by Jen Hayes and Linnea Donnelly is executed with precision, and the play's sword fights are carried out with an almost frighteningly real swiftness.
As Mercutio, a companion to lovelorn Romeo, Ethan Brown has an irrepressible presence and great timing that make him impossible to ignore. He never misses a beat, has a good grasp of the language and and his swagger belies his slight frame. His cries of pain and final words in reaction to his mortal wound are startlingly realistic. Capulet is played by Jason Pacella, whose portrayal of an authoritative father who crumbles when he believes his daughter, Juliet, has died is heartbreaking.
Romeo is played with passionately naive sweetness by Seth Garcia. As Juliet, Cait Gardipe sounded a little shaky at first on Sunday, but was increasingly captivating as the tension grew around and within her. She and Garcia are confident and believably play off of one another. Gardipe is especially effective when she cries out one last time for her nurse, as she faces the terrifying realization that she must decide on her own what to do.
The set — designed and painted by Emma Eichner, Kendra Bourne and Michelle McGaughey, and constructed by Evan Haussmann — are simply and tastefully done. The intricately painted plants on the walls are lovely.

On stage
What: "Romeo and Juliet"
Presented by: Barnstable Summer Family Theatre in collaboration with Barnstable's Harbor Your Arts program and its Shakespeare by the Sea
When: 5 p.m. Sunday and July 19 and 26
Where: Aselton Park, at the corner of Ocean and South streets, Hyannis
Admission: Free (audience

Romeo and Juliet a summer must-“sea”
Written by Kathleen Szmit
Shoreline Shakespeare in Hyannis

Manhattan may have Shakespeare in the Park, but Hyannis has Shakespeare by the Sea.
Each Sunday evening in July, fans of the Bard can bring blankets and beach chairs to Aselton Park on the Hyannis waterfront for a spirited rendition of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet performed by Barnstable Family Summer Theatre.
The production was first seen earlier this spring in the Knight Hall at Barnstable High School. Traditionally, comedies are chosen for the spring Shakespeare show.
This year, however, Shakespeare teacher and director Ed O'Toole opted to break from tradition and go with what is perhaps Shakespeare’s most well known tragedy. It was a risk, but a risk that proved a solid success as each show performed at BHS this spring played to a packed house.
Part of the show’s success lies with the cast, a terrific mix of past and present BHS Drama Club members and students from O'Toole's classes. I was most impressed with the performances of KC Schuck as Juliet’s Nurse, Ethan Brown as Mercutio, Cait Gardipe as Juliet, and especially Seth Garcia as Romeo.
During the show’s first performance on July 5, this group, along with the rest of the tremendous cast, entertained a sizeable crowd with their impressive talents.
Brown, along with the hilarious Harry O’Toole as Benvolio, offered comic relief from the show’s serious tone, particularly during the challenging Queen Mab speech, which he delivered flawlessly.
Schuck, as the Nurse, was wonderful in conveying every feeling, from joy at Juliet’s discovery of love with Romeo to profound sorrow at Juliet’s untimely death.
It was Garcia, however, who simply shined as the lovestruck lead, delivering his lines with sincerity and believability. Like Isaiah Voegeli, who portrayed Romeo in several spring performances, Garcia was an ideal match for Gardipe’s powerful Juliet.
Gardipe, a woman with a tremendous future ahead of her, evoked much emotion as the fair Juliet. Whether discussing marriage with Romeo or battling her parents for her freedom, she was wonderful to watch.
Also impressive was Jason Pacella as Juliet's strong-willed father, Matt Kohler as the Prince, Tommy Myers as Tybalt, and Sam Bechtold as Friar Laurence.
Emma Eichner, Kendra Bourne and Michelle McGaughey worked marvels creating the simple, yet effective set, while Evan Haussmann did a fine job on the set. I also appreciated the mix of old and new in costume designer Breana Cole's use of modern-day dress against the age-old set.
Shakespeare fans, and even those just looking for an excellent production, will definitely want to see this show during its run at Aselton this summer. This skilled and talented cast does not disappoint in bringing Romeo and Juliet to life yet again.
Romeo and Juliet can be seen each Sunday evening in July beginning at 5 p.m. at Aselton Park in Hyannis. The show is free and refreshments are on sale during the performance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GOLDILOCKS IS A HIT - Don't miss it!

'Goldilocks' just right for parents, patient kids

July 09, 2009

HYANNIS — Even though "Goldilocks and the Three Bears From Outer Space" has some familiar fairy tale creatures, other faces transport the play into unfamiliar territory. Jimmy Hoffa, Anastasia Romanov and Elvis Presley join the cast in the second half of the play.

Writers-directors (and brothers) Frederick Sullivan Jr. and John Sullivan have re-imagined the popular children's story and peppered it with enough mature jokes that adults appeared more entertained than their kids were on opening night. The new interpretation gives spice to the otherwise well-known plot (girl enters unfamiliar house, tries out the furniture and food, and finally falls asleep in a perfectly sized bed) by adding plenty of bear puns and references to "The X-Files."

Goldilocks, believing that aliens have landed in her town of Kalamazoo, Mich., searches for evidence in the Bear family home and is charged with breaking and entering. Skeptical police Sgt. Frank Rizzo (played by a wonderfully believable Anastasios Pappasotiriou) and his nervous deputy (Jeremy Peacock, a nice foil to the overbearing sergeant) doubt her claims, even when FBI agents Mully and Sculdor (Sound familiar ... ish?) come by to check things out.

The motley crew of first act-ers travels to outer space in the second act in an attempt to stop the "bad guy," Xanderararar the Majestic (Mike O'Toole) and meet a few historical figures along the way.

The character impersonations were incredibly impressive, particularly Dick Weir's superbly realistic Albert Einstein, Greg Gianno's smooth-talking Elvis, and Will Turner's powerful Jimmy Hoffa. They were intricately precise, with perfect accents, contemporaneous turns-of-phrase and impressive costuming.

Michelle McGaughey's Goldilocks is saucy, bold and frantic. Her voice and personality are out-of-this-world loud. But it works. She bounces between sweet and violent, from crying sweetly on a chair to stomping on Sergeant Rizzo's foot.

Goldilocks is pitiable, likable, and deplorable all at once. She's a self-proclaimed SAP — member of the Space Alien Protection club, that is. Her mop of bouncy blond curls and pretty patent-leather shoes invite sympathy and make the audience believe her alien theory.

Kids seemed to love the Bear family, though they didn't seem to catch the overbearing puns, especially little Junior Bear (played by Ryan Chevalier on opening night, alternating with Gregory Keating) who just wants to do the right thing.

In keeping with the unwritten rule that comic bad guys really can't be that bad, Xanderararar is slightly too pathetic to be evil. I found myself feeling sorry for him despite his evil plans of galactic domination.

The piece de la resistance is the army of Meeps, aliens played by young children, who indisputably stole the show. The kids who had been sitting patiently through a multitude of adult jokes cackled excitedly when the extraterrestrials marched onstage in masks and robes. They are the least intimidating and most lovable army of aliens imaginable.

"Goldilocks" is a terrific show for parents who want to be entertained and for kids who can sit still during breaks in the kid-friendly bits. Be prepared to explain labor unions and space travel on the ride home.