May 27: The Children and Animals Took to the Streets
London’s 1927 blends theatre with projected animation, live piano, and voiceovers, delivering a clever, sensual delight
More, please. That’s my first thought after seeing last night’s The Children and Animals Took to the Streets, a production by the London-based 1927 company. A mix of performances by three female actors blended in amazing fashion with projected animation, live piano, and voiceovers, the show is set in Bayou Mansions, the derelict part of an otherwise shining town, filled to the brim with derelict types, roaches, lizards, and marauding gangs of pirate children who take over the rough 'hood at night. In time, the latter want what the nice kids have (pretty parks and X-Boxes), and they go for it. Amid the riots, there’s a do-gooder who tries to save them (with collages of elbow macaroni, lentils, and glue); a pitiful caretaker who is fabulously, pathetically plagued by the wee monsters; and a chorus of neighbor women who delight in the drama.
Now, all this could come off awfully dreary, but with writer Suzanne Andrade’s deft touch, her songs, witticisms, and droll dialogue alongside Paul Barritt’s phenomenal illustrations, the spectacle is mind-blowing, awful, funny, and rich beyond compare. It’s such a sensual delight, in fact, that I had to force myself to acknowledge the overarching social commentaries (drug the kids, save your world; where does Polyanna fit into society today; and on) it puts forth.
Bottom line? Go. If only for the dream sequences, the dark humor, the cleverness of it all. Just watch out for the candy girl trolling the audience before the lights go dim, and definitely turn down the gumdrops she’ll try to ply you with…
Performances continue Wednesday, May 30 through Sunday June 3.