By Sandi Durell . . .
On a dark stage at the Greenwich House Theater on Barrow Street, a bunch of enchanted Fairies twirl and twinkle, lit by their handheld flashlights in this whimsical slapstick spoof, a mashup of old world fairy tales intertwined with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Playwright/director Douglas Carter Beane has finally seen his long-awaited Fairycakes take flight to the beat of iambic pentameter with original music by Lewis Flinn.
It’s a dazzle of fabulous, colorful costumes and fabrics by Gregory Gale who has gone the limit on OMG in the wardrobe department against the forest backdrop (scenic design by Shoko Kambara/Adam Crinson). The story and cast are as colorful as the costumes, as we meet the players. Mo Rocca does the honor as Geppetto (and Stepsister), sweet, lovely Peaseblossum (Kristolyn Lloyd) is the peacemaker and daughter of King Oberon, and the flawlessly funny Arnie Burton (who we later meet as Dirk the Pirate – even funnier).
There’s rumor that the King and Queen Titania, the irreplaceable Julie Halston (who also plays the sex deprived Queen Elizabeth) are divorcing. And that has severe implications in this enchanted forest . . . the children die! The forest is all a-twitter as the A-list cast make their entrances.
The one and only Jackie Hoffman as the wry Moth/Tinker Bell . . .always delivers. Pretty Cindy – Cinderella, (Kuhoo Verma – also Aurora the kitchen maid), is filled with joy as she meets her Prince Viktor (Jason Tam) who seeks and finds Cindy’s offerings along the way (a hanky, a glove, a cape) but outdoes himself in the role of Cupid in his beguiling gold shimmering loin cloth and huge white feather wings replete with Cupid bow – a sight to be admired.
The fairies are a visual reason to keep an audience laughing and smiling (not all the time) and Mustardseed, who doubles as a Mermaid, the impeccable Ann Harada has some of the fastest costume changes imaginable, especially as she’s wheeled out as Mermaid. The good looking Jamen Nanthakumar is Changeling/Cricket/Stepmother and the Cobweb/Princess is the very remarkable Z Infante. Peaseblossom’s love interest is the cloven foot Puck, played by Chris Myers who looks very buff with his pointed ears. Eventually Geppetto finishes carving his wooden adorable son Pinocchio (Sabatino Cruz) giving Pinocchio a reason to be dashing on and off stage tormenting his new Dad.
This hand chosen cast does a spectacular job delivering the difficult cadence of lines. It’s all madcap. And Fairycakes is replete with messages as Act 2 gives rise to Deadeye Dirk, the Pirate, falling for none other than Moth in a lot of running and chasing, while poor Elizabeth is sorely disappointed in her short affair with Changeling.
They all fall asleep as Puck lifts the enchantment hoping that Peaseblossom will utter words of love to him. But what happens instead is the enchanted forest disappears, there’s no more rhyming and no more flying. They are just ordinary folks. And they learn the true curse . . . those who never love. Sadly, Pirate is no longer interested in Moth. He’s finding new directions as is Geppetto and the Prince.
The messages are loud and clear: love yourself, write your own story, change, grow, adapt.
Many a time, for those who have a problem with Shakespeare lingo, you’ll miss some gems and some editing might be just the right arrow to shoot to rid the dead spots that seem to pop up in this overly long spoof of a fairytale.
Do the Fairycakes remain ordinary or regain their enchanted state? Ah, ha . . . for me to know and you to find out!
Fairycakes runs 2 hours 15 minutes (one intermission) Greenwich House Theater, 27 Barrow St., NYC. thru January 2, 2022. www.FairCakesThePlay.com
Photos: Matthew Murphy