Review in Short: Although Oscar Wilde is remembered mainly as a flamboyant, controversial personality and playwright, he also penned two early collections of fairy tales geared towards adults as much as children. PSU professor Karin Magaldi adapts them for Shaking the Tree’s intimate stage in an imaginative ensemble production. The six actors use minimal props and a clever set, third person narration, and the story of a soul trying to reunite with its body as the device to string the other stories together like a glistening, beaded necklace worthy of a faerie queen. Ensemble member Matthew Kerrigan steals the show with flexibly comedic characters reminiscent of Johnny Depp (a comparison fueled by his Captain Sparrow long hair, pencil mustache, and soulpatch).
The company seems to have targeted adult audiences for the show, though, which I think is a mistake. Acting that felt over zealous to my eye would be transfixing and delightful for younger audiences—indeed, the 11-year-old in front of me didn't even shrug at the two-and-a-half hour runtime. —Aaron Scott