Review by Michael Christensen
The sublime joy of nursery rhymes is in their timelessness. The poetry is embedded in our collective unconscious, as the little tales seem to dance on our tongue. It is interesting to note that the history of some our favorites are not quite what one would expect. But I will leave that to Google.
Santa Monica Playhouse’s production of Finding Belle is a wonderful blend of fantasy and topicality. The advent of the modern world can impose itself on old stories, but the tales do not give up without a fight.
We find Mary-Mary (Kelly Kristofferson) distraught that her grandmother has left on honeymoon and so she sulks in her room. Not even her cheerleader friends can cheer her up.
Enter Mother Goose (an authentic and engaging Cydne Moore) and Snow White (Emery Erin), Cinderella (Sabrina Twyla) and Little Bo Peep (Kristin Folk). They are in search for Bella (of Beauty and the Beast) or rather a treasure—a treasure that is hidden within the confines of Mary-Mary’s heart. But she needs to discover that for herself.
Finding Belle is an absolute delight. There are musical numbers, with the songs catchy and the lyrics inspiring. The cast immerse themselves into the roles with an earnest sincerity that spills onto the stage.
Written and directed by Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie, the duo provides the just right amount of brevity and seriousness to capture an audience of young and old alike. And the message portrayed is as eternal as the rhymes themselves.
“Finding Belle” runs through April 30th on Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 12:30pm at Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage located at 1211 4th St. in Santa Monica. Call (310) 394-9779 or visit SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.