From whatzup.com, this is what reviewer Virginia Relph has to say about The Just So Stories. Give it a read, then come to the show this weekend because you don’t want to miss it! Tickets are available at the door. Performances are at the PPG ArtsLab, 300 E. Main Street. Friday/Saturday curtain 7:30 pm, Saturday/Sunday Matinee curtain 2:30 pm.
“The Just So Stories
Stories Will Draw You In
How do people from Fort Wayne visit the gray-green, greasy waters of the Limpopo, all set about with fever trees? With their imaginations, of course! And if imagination is not enough, The Just So Stories, presented by all for One productions will bring these tales to life.
This collection of family stories comes from an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s children’s classic of the same name. Now, any family story is likely to have some element of a tall tale, and The Just So Stories are no exception – if they aren’t true, they ought to be. And, like many family stories, there is some sad but sweet nostalgia because, as everyone knows, those little listeners don’t stay little very long.
Director Lorraine Knox places the action in a theater-in-the-round, where exits and entrances emanate from all points of the compass. And this is particularly appropriate, for The Just So Stories takes place in many places throughout the world, both real and fanciful.
Eight young actors, led by Shannon Livengood as Elsie Kipling, play multiple roles. The actors’ energy and inventiveness bring to life animals, water, trees and magical beings – transformed by simple costumes topped with strange-but-wonderful animal headpieces created by Sophie Knox.
Audiences will discover how animals came to be, according to Kipling – in order to be useful at work, to escape a fatal footrace, or to find out what questions should be asked. Spoiler alert: It’s probably a good idea not to ask what a crocodile wants for dinner.
The actors are constantly in motion; they dance and tumble in every direction. Jonas Anderson’s sinuous, slithery snake is a high point. The animals’ voices are just as delightful. It’s easy for audiences to laugh when the actors are having such a good time putting on the play.
A technically difficult show with ingenious light and music cues is beautifully designed by Tech Director Jeff Salisbury, and deftly carried out by stage manager Emily Warren, a participant in afO’s apprenticeship program. In fact, most of The Just So Stories is brought to life by surprisingly young people, with only a little help from grown-ups.
The Just So Stories is a great theater experience for kids of all ages, and the story unfolds so closely that it’s hard not to join in. One young First Nighter, hearing the Rhino lament that her skin was itchy, leaped onstage to give Rhino a big, satisfying back scratch. Ah, the joys of live theater!
Young audiences will be left wanting more, and parents can give hearty permission to attend, since the play runs just 75 minutes with no intermission. The evening performance ends by 9 p.m., so everyone will be home right on time for a bedtime story – one that is told Just So.”