Entertainment » Theatre

The Monster Tales

by Kay Bourne
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday May 16, 2011
The Monster Tales

When repressed research librarian Mimi stomps into her dreary apartment little wonder she's ready to turn in for the night. Obviously her life is a drag. What else is there to do but put on her 'jamies' and crawl into bed?

Clutching her teddy Pookie to her, she's ready to drift off when she remembers to check under her bed for the monster that has unnerved her since childhood. She lowers Pookie down to scan under the mattress, but the stuffed animal fails to warn her of an ominous red light burning below. The monster emerges! The frightful apparition looks to be a fun house mirror replica of Mimi herself (thanks to inventive costumer Cara Pacifico and mask designer Bonnie Duncan whose costumes for all the characters reflect the psychological tie in to Mimi).

Directed for every inch of its gestalt psychological import and Grimm fairy tale panache by Barlow Adamson and John Edward O'Brien, the enchanting "The Monster Tales" continues through May 21 at the Factory Theater. There is charming original music that floats in and out of the proceedings from Sarah Rabdau of Sarah Rabdau and the Self Employed Assassins and Peter Moore of Count Zero.

The monster regales Mimi with stories she's learned from huddling up next to Mimi who asleep weaves tales or dreams that bear an uncanny if fantastical resemblance to issues Mimi needs to resolve which are mostly about maturing. Mimi and her doppelganger, portrayed by Elizabeth Rimar and Becca A. Lewis, are fascinating to watch as they watch the stories unfold which every so often hit home emotionally to Mimi.

An elderly blind man orders a bride from a catalogue; a woman discovers a young man growing in her garden among the tomatoes and flowers; a mother dies leaving her daughter so distraught she withers away and dies as well; a man who can make music merely by touching his fingers together stops doing so in order to let his wife and children come into their own as creative people.

They are good-natured stories told with a lot of verve and wit but they build in emotional intensity for Mimi as it gradually dawns on her they contain lessons for her to learn about leaving the ups and downs of her childhood behind her and moving on.

The cast is excellent. Lonnie McAdoo, one of Boston's best character actors, is riveting as the tyrannical blind man. He's sidestepped the easy option of wearing dark glasses; instead manages to stare blankly as he estimates the value of his catalogue ordered bride, played with a wonderful mix of robotics and girlish temperament by Sasha Castroverde. Nate Gundy is charming as the blind man's servant whose loyalty to his master becomes a dilemma when he falls in love with the mail order bride. Filling out the archetypes of Mimi's dreams is the mother figure played by Irene Daly who gives solid interpretations of this nurturer throughout the various fairy tales.

The monster and Mimi hang onto every nuance of the stories as they play out before them as do you in the audience.

Mill 6 Collaborative, celebrating its 13th year and 27th production, gives Mary Jett Parsley's tale of vanquishing our inner monster of self doubt a spirited outing that's so entertaining the night flies by as fast for us as it does for Mimi.

"The Monster Tales" is running in month long repertory with Whistler in the Dark's production of "Aunt Dan and Lemon" through May 20 at the Factory Theater, behind the Piano Craft Building at 791 Tremont Street in Lower Roxbury, one block from Mass. Ave. For more info you can log on to www.Mill6,org.

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