By Debbie Kagy
Actually! The Actual Truth Behind Your Favorite Tales: Hansel and Gretel, The Little Mermaid, Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) plays to an audience of all ages. The Actors’ Repertory Theatre has presented Musical Matinees every weekend in Santa Monica for almost 44 years and clearly, they know what they are doing.
In this production, three well known children’s stories are recreated with the help of a few friendly narrators and many resourceful characters. Unfortunately, bits of the stories are missing and assisted by the audience, the actors work to complete them. The fact that there are three separate stories taking place in three separate countries, accents included, helps to keep the young audience interested and engaged.
Chris DeCarlo and Serena Dolinsky direct a fun and spirited cast of seven that enrich this sometimes fast-paced musical comedy. While this is a show geared towards children, the language is not oversimplified for them, but rather it is worked into the production in such a way that they can understand and learn.
Imagination is encouraged through the use of a minimalist stage filled with wigs, and costume additions that double for such things as wings and mermaid tails. A simple black box stage and seven bodies that meld together are all that is needed to create three distinct worlds: a glorious candy house in the woods, a beautiful endangered ocean, and a foreign land of mountains and dragons. Lively and musical, Actuallyl is a show that the whole family can enjoy.
Actually! runs Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. through Sept. 29 at the Santa Monica Playhouse: The Other Space located at 1211 4th St. in Santa Monica. For reservations, please call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.50 for children under 12 years of age. For information on Birthday and Tea Parties also available with each performance, go to santamonicaplayhouse.com/birthday.html.