Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Little Mermaid, Scottish Rite Children's Theatre, October 3 - November 22

The excitement of theatre vibrates in the air in the classic space of the Scottish Rite Children's Theatre in central Austin. On Saturdays, Sundays, and some mid-week performance days a bubbling crew of 3-to-8-year-olds occupies the mats in the center of the auditorium, while parents and less daring children occupy the conventional theatre seats. The energy level is as high as any Broadway opening night.

This is a volatile crowd, in the literal sense of a bunch of individuals ready to fly up, off and around in any direction. Before each SRCT show an actor shows up as crowd-pleaser and crowd-tamer, with a vivacious presentation. Laura Ray, clad for her titular role as the mermaid, welcomes everyone with a bounce and a big smile and big, big gestures. She teaches the kids a song and happily outlines the rules. Then she gets them up on their feet to apply to their backsides the imaginary "bottom glue" to keep them in place as action animates the stage and slips quicksilver along aisles and around the audience.S he gets the grown-ups up, as well, to pledge in unison to abstain from flash photography.

And then we're rolling!

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