Sundance Children's Theatre is offering a charming, fun production with "Out of the Frying Pan," a play created and presented by the Dell'Arte Players Company of California.
"Out of the Frying Pan" touches upon the history of food and items such as table manners and different styles of food, but it is not really an educational experience; the main emphasis is making jokes and having a lot of fun with food as the underlying theme.As the character Chef Musician (Stan Mott) sings at the beginning of the play: "Life is just a bowl of cherries, so live and laugh at it all." Children in the audience will go away not having learned a lot, but they will probably have laughed a lot at the characters' crazy antics.
Chef Musician provides music for the play's songs and humorous sound effects for the characters on an accordion. The play features four other performers, each with their own separate identity and approach to food: Chef Barb (Lauren Wilson), Chef Hugo Ego (Bob Wells), Chef Kebob (Steve Tenerelli) and Chef Mom (Bernadette Sabath). Each player takes on a few other identities as well during the show.
Each of these actors is enjoyable and offers humor to the show with his or her physical and energetic actions. An endless parade of props and costume changes adds more opportunities for humor. Even puppets are used occasionally, with one funny moment portraying cavemen and their attempt to barbeque a puppet resembling a big, furry possum.
The show is broken down into different short scenes, including a food critic's visit to a restaurant (the main dish says "meow"), the company's attempt to prepare a dish using a large banana slug, and their historical dramatization of food through time.
There's audience involvement as well, including a song during which Chef Mom confesses her intense love for chocolate and runs through the audience frantically searching for anything chocolate.
Even though the show was fun and the mountain setting beautiful, tickets for this hourlong production seem a bit expensive. A remedy for this is leaving the younger children at home. Children who were a little older seemed to enjoy this show more than the younger ones. My 3-year-old was not engaged by it at all and didn't understand the humor. My recommenda-tion is to take children who are at least of elementary school age.
A canopy has been stretched over the audience at the outdoor theater in an effort to cool down the setting a little, and although seating is essentially on the ground, small individual cushions provide more comfort and keep one from getting dirty. One should arrive at Sundance about 20 minutes early in order to allow time to catch a ride up the mountain to where the King Stage is located.
Overall, this show is well-performed and enjoyable.