Theater Review: Rumpelstiltskin at Imagination Stage

“In the place where day meets night,” is the setting for Imagination Stage’s newest production, Rumpelstiltskin. I was immediately interested upon hearing the narrator’s words because is there a better time of day, than dusk?

And so the audience travels to this magical place where day meets night, where fairies live alongside humans and where a Brothers Grimm fable inspires us to talk with our kids about promises, beauty, power and names. Is your head swirling?

Wrapped up tightly in this 90-plus minute show is a slew of life lessons, some embroiled with riddles and poetry, to entertain and provoke audience members. If you head to the show with your kids, have them plan to keep track of how many promises are made during the show…and how many are broken. We had fun with that exercise after the show concluded.

Rumpelstiltskin (Matthew Pauli) demands a very high price from the Miller’s Daughter (Katherine Turner) before he can spin the rest of the straw into gold in RUMPELSTILTSKIN at Imagination Stage

Rumpelstiltskin (Matthew Pauli) demands a very high price from the
Miller’s Daughter (Katherine Turner) before he can spin the rest of the straw
into gold in RUMPELSTILTSKIN at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

We absolutely adored this newest production from Imagination Stage, with one exception. Billed as best suited for those ages 5 and up, I would disagree, at least with my 5-year-old. She was definitely too young for it and she is a pretty mature audience member because she’s been going to the theater since she was around 2-years-old. My 8-year-old, a totally different story, she was as enraptured as me and Mr. Wired Momma (In the end, my oldest gave it a hearty two-thumbs up.)

But I totally disagree with Imagination Stage on the age recommendations and honestly wouldn’t suggest it for anyone younger than first grade.  Do not get me wrong, it’s a delightful show, the lessons are plentiful and the riddles playful, but in the absence of any large animal puppets, limited physical comedy,  spunky songs and potty humor  – all of which are ingredients guaranteed to delight the youngest theater-goers among us – I think it’s not suited for the youngest kids. If I were to go again, and honestly I would love too, I’d only bring my oldest.

Once the Miller's Daughter (Katherine Turner) guesses the correct name of the riddling fairy, Rumpelstiltskin (Matthew Pauli) must be banished in RUMPELSTILTSKIN at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

Once the Miller’s Daughter (Katherine Turner) guesses the correct name of
the riddling fairy, Rumpelstiltskin (Matthew Pauli) must be banished in
RUMPELSTILTSKIN at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

The small cast is brilliant in each of their roles. Mr. WM especially loved the pranks and riddles of Rumpelstiltskin. I agreed that he was fantastic in this role. I appreciated the Miller’s daughter, how her father wanted  for her to have a life of beauty and to want for nothing, and though she was raised to do absolutely nothing for herself, in the end she found her strength for her baby and she found her voice to make the king realize how manipulative and controlling he had been. Honestly, at one point, I was a little concerned that we were watching this woman marry the very man who imprisoned her.  Ultimately, she puts him in his place.

As with any story by the Brothers Grimm, it’s definitely a little dark and twisty, but the life lessons ought to inspire some lively discussions with your kids. I also applaud Imagination Stage for cutting out the intermission – making it much easier especially if you do bring younger kids.  I definitely recommend this one, especially as we struggle through this dark cold winter. The show is playing only until March 16 and ticket prices start at $10.

Disclosure: Me and my family were guests of Imagination Stage but my opinions here are all my own.

 

One Response to Theater Review: Rumpelstiltskin at Imagination Stage
  1. Lynn
    February 18, 2014 | 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the note on age. I was thinking about taking my almost-five-year-old (we took her to Peter Pan and she loved it) but I think we will skip this one.

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