Monday, October 28, 2013

The Wong Kids

Yesterday we went to The Children's Theater Company to see The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!  We've been picky about what we add to our season tickets - they're not longer the more inclusive package that was gift to the family when I became a manager, but the more limited season tickets appropriate to Eryn's age - but this one sounded fun.

The description says: "Meet the Wong Kids, typical teenage brother and sister that just discovered their hidden superpowers. This rock-‘em, sock-‘em, sci-fi space adventure, that’s part Phineas and Ferb meets A Wrinkle in Time, pits the squabbling siblings against the evil Space Chupacabra in a heroic plight to save the universe. Sophisticated and full of irreverent humor, Wong Kids combines the hipness of manga and anime with a fantastic voyage of tenacity, courage and in the end, true friendship."

We saw A Wrinkle in Time, and it wasn't A Wrinkle in Time.  I remember AWIT as being ungodly whiny.  Horrifically whiny.  Make me want to gouge my ears out angsty whiny.  This was anything but.  It was fun.  Exceptionally well acted.  Clever.  And the staging/production complemented a good story and a great sense of humor to make it all gel.  The slowest moments were when Violet had to face her own fears of having no friends made manifest, and her concern that she wanted to be just like her non-Asian friends.  But those were fairly short asides in an otherwise fast-paced production and gave it some foils for the humor.  Phineas and Ferb - that's a good comparison if they worried a bit more about being nerds.  But that's why they have a supercool Platypus spy in their tale, so it's obvious they're cool even if they don't know it.

My wife asked me what I thought at the end and my response was that it was the best retelling of The Neverending Story I'd ever been to.  She was confused, but I pointed out there was a dragon, a rock creature, a creature that was sort of hunting them, wolves, another world, and the prospect of nothingness.  Fortunately, they made Atreyu and the Childlike Empress a team and took away the helplessness of the empress and made her the stronger, active character.  And then they made it a good story, and funny, and not sickening.

Best thing we've been to at the CTC in a long time in terms of originality.  I particularly enjoyed the meteor shower and the end of the dragon's part in the story.  I suspect we might see that dragon again come Shrek later in the season.

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