“There’s a duck taking a bath in my bathtub!” Hilarious is all I can say when I witnessed the world premiere of The Magic Finger performed on opening night at Imagination Stage. Lucy and her magic finger create all kinds of mischief involving people and yes, ducks.
When Lucy visits William Gregg at his family’s farm, she quickly questions their friendship. You see, the Greggs hunt ducks. Lucy is fuming at seeing them return with rifles in hand and a trio of deceased ducks. All of the sudden she raises her finger and zap, a spell is cast upon the Gregg family. The tables are turned and the Greggs are transformed into miniature beings with duck wings while the ducks are human sized and have arms.
The Greggs have to learn to survive as ducks holed up in an apple tree by building a nest, learning to fly and surviving a thunderstorm. Despite the fact that the family may be ducks forever, William isn’t all that upset. “Being a bird boy has one advantage – you can fly.”
The ducks have their share of mayhem too. They have to learn to adapt to television, wearing clothes and finding out the purpose of toilet paper. You will laugh at them discovering a jack in the box and dancing to “La Bamba.”
Things that may bother some viewers include seeing shotguns and hearing “piss off,” an English slang expression. While the show is recommended for ages 5 to 10, there were also younger and older children present. The moral of the story is about respecting one another and learning to forgive. The play gives a bird’s eye view of the world around us.
It’s really hard to pick a standout performer in this show because I enjoyed all the actors. The English accents done by the characters were spot on. I enjoyed that parts of the show were interactive making the children active audience participants. I felt the kinship between Lucy (Megan Graves) and William (Matthew Schleigh) was heartfelt and believable.
While the ducks didn’t do more than shake their tail feathers and quack, they were comical and true to their characters. It’s no wonder that Kendra Rai won the Helen Hayes Award for outstanding costume design last year. The costumes evoked the pastoral setting set in England. I also enjoyed the simplicity of the duck puppets designed by Matthew McGee.
- The Magic Finger runs through June 2 in the Lerner Family Theatre. Performances are held Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 and 4 pm with an additional performance at 11 am on Saturday May 4.
- Tickets are available online or at the box office. Prices range from $10 to $25 per person. Lap seats for children under two are $5. Floor seats, which are cushions, are closest to the stage and on a first come first serve basis.
- Download the family guide to both Roald Dahl shows online.
- We sat in the left orchestra which made it hard for some children, including my own, to see the stage. The problem was quickly resolved with booster seats provided by Imagination Stage. If you have a little one making noise, there is a room next to the left orchestra where you can see and hear the show without disrupting the audience.
- Photography, food and beverages are not permitted in the theater. There is a café on site open daily until 5:30 pm.
- It’s hard not to pass by the uber cool gift shop. You can purchase a copy of The Magic Finger in paperback.
- A parking garage is located next door with free parking on the weekends.
- Imagination Stage offers classes and workshops for children up to age 5 with Saturday Song Circle and Sunday Funday. Older children can enroll in performing arts classes and camps. Don’t delay, register your child for one of their amazing summer camp options.
- Attend the annual Children’s Ball on May 11 at 4 pm. The ball includes a performance of James and the Giant Peach, and a reception with food, dancing, activities, and a silent auction. Tickets are $75 a person, with family 4 packs for $250.
- Next up: The Ice Wolf presented by the Acting Conservatory from April 26 to 28, 2013 and Little Monsters from May 31 to June 2, 2013.
Go see the Roald Dahl Repertory The Magic Finger and James and the Giant Peach. The Magic Finger is exhilarating fun that you don’t want to miss!