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L.A. Beat

New West's Legend of the Lost Tooth is a strange adventure

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New West Theatre takes kids of all ages on a their new pirate themed adventure “ The Legend of the Lost Tooth, ” running at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre until Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. each afternoon.Kelly Malcolm in Legend of the Lost Tooth. Photo by Richard Amery
 The talented cast of Kelly Malcolm, Erica Barr and Ryan Reese under the tutelage of writer/director   Nicola Elson, tell the story of a little girl who loses her tooth in a French  cafe, but with nary a word of dialogue.

 Instead  of dialogue there is a lot of physical actions, miming and puppets with  a few exhorted words in  French like “L’amour,” and “Incroyable, plus the odd utterances of  “tooth” “play” “clue” and “swim.”

The actors collaborated with director Nicole  Elson and composer Kathy Zaborsky to create this piece of devised theatre. Zaborsky’s soundtrack is  a beautiful combination of classical piano, accordion to create the French cafe atmosphere and a touch of jazz, plus a few bars of “La Vie de Rose” to reflect the love story between the Maitre De and the lady.

 Familiar face Kelly Malcolm steals the show as always. Several of the kids in the front row recognized her from previous New West’s Theatre for Young Audiences shows,” as just before the production, she recruited them to play fish later in the show.

 It is a weird show, but also entertaining. It reminded me of Mr. Bean if he was part of a pirate adventure.
 It is colourful, there is a lot of movement, and three fantastic masks, but it takes a while for the story to get started.

Ryan Reese plays the maitre de, plus a tree and handles my favourite puppet- a tooth stealing parrot.

 Malcolm connects with the maitre-de’s crush — Erica Barr’s lady.Ryan Reese in Legend of the Lost Tooth. Photo by Richard Amery
 I found it the volume  of the soundtrack drowned out some of the words.

The Maitre De throws Malcolm out of the cafe several times for playing with increasing larger globes, before they finally settle into the story and  the actual adventure of finding the lost tooth. Eventually they find a “clue” in the middle of the audience a with only 15 minutes left in the play.

 The lady and Malcolm turn the cafe into a ship, which eventually gets wrecked by a giant squid, also played by Reese. The squid and Malcolm administer CPR on  a puppet representing the lady, which is one of the funniest moments in the show.

 It is followed by a beautiful dance of umbrellas representing jellyfish.
 Erica Barr returns again, this time as the Tooth Fairy who arrives just in time to help locate the  thieving parrot and retrieve the lost tooth.

 The play ends happily as expected after a long and strange trip. Though it is tough to follow, the talented actors  really excel at creating a full story with no dialogue.
 Legend of the lost Tooth runs until Jan 4 at 1 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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