Last week Doris Lynch of The Herald-Times took in our family show, Arnie the Doughnut, and she thinks it’s “delish”! As a public service for those who missed her review in last Friday’s paper, we republish, with permission, Ms. Lynch’s tasty piece of criticism.
(This review is still available at the Herald-Times Online website. You can read it by clicking here. The talking animals Doris Lynch mentions in her initial paragraph refer to the well-received and recently closed Cardinal Theatre production of Charlotte’s Web.)
THEATER REVIEW: INDIANA FESTIVAL THEATER
Kids’ musical scrumptious
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013 12:00 am
By Doris Lynch H-T Reviewer
What’s the world coming to? Besides speaking geese, mice and even spiders, we now have garrulous doughnuts that sing and dance. In “Arnie the Doughnut’s” title role of Arnie, Nathan Robbins is magnificent: whimsical, funny, cheery and poignant. He nearly explodes with energy out of his paper bag.
But first things first, Arnie proudly belongs to the chocolate-frosted and rainbow-sprinkled category, in case you plan on visiting a bakery later to purchase a doughnut to remember him by.
Chad Rabinovitz of Bloomington Playwrights Project directed this high-octane (or should I say high-sugar) production with musical direction by Nat Zegree. Zegree also plays delightful keyboard and piano music throughout. The fine cast sings, dances and offers humorous asides, some of which the adults find funnier than the kids.
“Arnie” begins with three enticing doughnuts, each bragging about her superior delights. As the elegant French Cruller, Samantha Mason intones French phrases. As the jelly doughnut, Meghan Goodman feels her head once to make sure the red goop flowing out is jam, not brains. Carrie Barnthouse captures the fleeting splendor of Powdered Doughnut.
Next fresh, fresh off the conveyer belt leaps Arnie, and the show is instantly transformed. One of the original doughnuts is sold and then something apple-filled. No matter — the four doughnuts belt out the chirpy “Sunshiny Goodness” while bumping bellies and backs, kicking and twirling. Abigail Bartish choreographed the show.
Soon the controlled, neurotic and stiff Mr. Bing (Nick Pappas) arrives. He’s the perfect embodiment of a man unable to deal with change. Already his day has misfired — due to a stain, he’s been forced to wear his Tuesday tie on a Monday. And the Downtown Bakery has run out of his usual doughnut — plain. As the baker, Barnthouse switches to a heavy New York accent and counsels the wooden and unhappy Mr. Bing. Amazingly, she talks him into choosing something different — the multicolored sprinkled Arnie. Wrapped in his brown bag, Arnie sets off for what he believes will be a lifetime of adventures.
But what’s a bakery story without a villain? Goodman changes out of her crimson puff costume for business clothes to stomp across the stage as the demanding and obnoxious Mrs. Plute, who enforces her endless list of rules on the residents of the Cozy Confines Condos. Christopher Rhoton’s scenic design — mostly a series of banners and roll-ins that includes a garden of zinnias — brings the Downtown Bakery and Bing’s stuffy condo building to life, as do Alycia Matz’s delectable costumes.
Can doughnuts have dreams? In this magical production based on the book with the same name, the answer is a decided yes. “To Be More than Delicious” is all that Arnie wants or asks for. To find a way to be in the world that brings individual happiness while helping others will never get stale as a message even when delivered by some fried dough. Whether you have a child companion or not, go see this delish show.
If you go
WHO: Indiana Festival Theater.
WHAT: “Arnie the Doughnut” by Frances Limoncelli and George Howe.
WHERE: Lee Norvelle Center’s Studio Theater, 275 N. Jordan Ave., Bloomington.
WHEN: 11 a.m. Friday-Wednesday and July 5-6, 9-13.
TICKETS: $10. Call 812-855-1103 or buy online at www.theatre.indiana.edu.
NOTE: Appropriate for ages 3 and up. Ages 7 and under should be with an adult.
© Copyright 2013, HeraldTimesOnline, Bloomington, IN. Reprinted by permission.