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L.A. Beat

Marooned with Munsch is a bunch of fun

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Geneviève Paré  and Cari Russell rehearse Munsch. Photo by Richard AmeryIf you want to warm up a chilly winter day, or if the kids are complaining that there is nothing to do, get Marooned With Munsch.

The New West Theatre for young audiences presentation of the popular children’s stories is a fun, high energy and funny hour-long show that follows four children separated from their parents on a tropical island, with only a box full of props, four Munsch books  and their imaginations to keep them from worrying about being rescued.

The four actors, Cari Russell, Willie Banfield, Geneviève Paré and New West general manager Jeremy Mason, laugh, joke, mug for the ‘imaginary’ audience and flip and roll all over the stage and hang from tree branches, as the children act out the Munsch books and get the audience involved with the show.

Many of the children sat on the floor right next to the stage.

In fact Mason, Banfield and Russell tap into their elder child  while Paré does a great job of portraying a child trying to be an adult.
Tommy’s (played by Mason)  ‘silly ideas’ are hilarious and imaginative,  including a good one about building a time machine out of sand and using it to go back in time and remembering bring food and water for the stranded  children. By the end of the show, the ‘silly ideas’ underly  the “don’t make fun ” theme that runs throughout  the stories.

 I enjoyed the fire engine story, where the audience is asked to make fire engine sounds as two kids   stowaway on a fire engine. I also enjoyed Moira’s Birthday Party, where the audience is divided into grades and invited to a massive birthday party and asked to shout “Yahoo!” whenever their grade is called.

Willie Banfield, Cari Russell and Jeremy Mason. Photo by Richard Amery

The show is is well done. Russell gets to do a few acrobatics with Banfield, and  gets to try out a few accents but above all, they make you laugh.

They have a colourful island set with a trees and a forest back drop to work with, upon which they play like kids on a jungle gym.

And it is a very cool thing to see Jeremy Mason on stage as I’ve never seen him act before.
 Overall, it is a fun  and entertaining way to spend a chilly afternoon.

Marooned with Munsch runs at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre until  Jan. 8. every afternoon except Jan. 1, 3 and 4.

Show times are 3:30 p.m. Dec. 31. As well  they are 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 2; 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 5-6; 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 and 3:30 p.m. Jan. 8.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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