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My overall impression
Fringe Reviews: Gumshoe McMonocle and the Strange Case of Rumpelsomething
Reviewed by Dany Margolies, reprinted courtesy of www.ArtsInLA.com
Bah, it’s a show for kids, right? Very wrong. The magic of puppetry and the mystery of our mind’s ability to see real people in the hands, literally, of a puppeteer make this charmer appealing to all ages.
The story of Rumpelstiltskin is told by a 1940s noir detective (oh, why not!) who is slightly narcoleptic and rather inept. The puppets are adorable, the props induce lasting fits of the giggles, and puppetmaker-writer-stagehand Don Kruszka is as kind a host as he is a charming puppeteer. Fun voices and those little puppet gestures that turn Styrofoam into warm flesh are Kruszka’s tools, just as Meryl Streep’s translucent expressions and spot-on accents are hers.
Rumpelstiltskin helps the miller’s daughter turn straw into gold, demands her first-born child in exchange, then tries to avoid, uh, detection by Gumshoe McMonocle. A cooing baby (tee hee), a mole and a pigeon (heh), a miller who sounds like Leslie Jordan (yay), and a Rumpelstiltskin with eyes like a deranged cat’s (yikes) populate (uh, puppulate?) the stage.
For the philosophers in the audience, however, what’s this strange fairy tale’s moral? Maybe that’s another mystery for Mr. McMonocle to solve.