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Milly and Tillie

24 Jul

You can pretty much tempt me anywhere with the promise of free ice-cream, and that was a big reason for going to Milly & Tillie, now playing through August 7th at the Open Eye Figure Theatre. I mean, I risked being the creepy older guy at a kid’s show, but director Jason Ballweber (also Artistic Director of the always funny but generally more adult company Four Humors Theater) had put me at ease earlier. “It has been marketed as a “family friendly” show,” he wrote while inviting me to the show, “which it is but I think it is just fun all around. I equate it to an episode of Peewee’s Playhouse.”

Peewee’s Playhouse is a good comparison, as Liz Schachterle as Milly and Elise Langer as Tillie (last name of Silly, thank you very much) mix their PBS friendly themes (Imaginary bears! Making ice-cream! A picnic!) with the same manic energy, off the charts voices and rubber faces that Paul Rubens brought to his icon of childhood-in-adult-form. The two actresses, with Schachterle playing an endearing Amelia Bedelia-type and Langer a bit more Chaplin-esque off-the-wall are aided in their high-energy shenanigans by excellent sound design courtesy of Sean Healy and a terrific mix of lighting (by Michael Murnane) and shadow puppetry (courtesy of Schachterle) that turn the actual picnic scene into live-action cartoon.

As an adult, I laughed at loud not only at the physical humor but also to some of the references to famous clowns of the past, a silent bit with a rainstorm and and wind drew from Chaplin. The energy and excitement of the neighborhood kids, some of whom have not missed a performance was also infectious and amusing. One child, in a bit where Schachterle was miming fishing, screamed out “Baseball!” Baseball was the next mime. The kids were there for the ice-cream too, but they get the benefit of the joy of live performance. It’s a sight better then sitting inside and watching TV, whether you’re 5, 25 or 65.

The show is free, and runs in conjunction with the summer “Driveway Tour“, so check out the theatre in your neighborhood!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Meeting Milly and Tillie « Proper Noun Blog - July 26, 2011

    […] at the Walker.  I called it a ‘tribute to a child’s imagination.  You can also read Cake in 15′s take on the show from last […]

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