The Toys Take over Christmas
Local Arts Reviews
Reviewed by Heather Barfield Cole, Fri., Dec. 5, 2003
The Toys Take Over ChristmasScottish Rite TheatRE, through Dec. 20
Running time: 1 hr.
Let the toy shopping begin. Let the giving and sharing of presents, good company, decadent food, and family warmth begin. Let the Toys Take Over Christmas, as Second Youth Family Theatre does in this children's play by Patricia Clapp-Cone. We watch the activities of a naughty, stingy toymaker and her talking and walking dolls as they discover simple truths about gifts, love, and friendship. Inside a toy shop, there are magical dolls kept hidden and never sold to customers, as decreed by the toymaker herself. She proudly boasts that they are worth more than all the dollars in the world. The toymaker throws some magic powder over her new creation, Rag Doll Sunny, whose innocent curiosity rouses the other dolls to investigate other secret treasures that the toymaker keeps in her locked chest.
Each doll has her own quirks of character that are so appealing in friendships. It's important for people to be accepted as who they are. The Captain Soldier Doll is created to follow orders, but when China Doll and Rag Doll uncover the treasure, he becomes more inclined to follow his heart and trust his friends than take orders. China Doll's devout admiration for her own beauty is endearing and teaches us about having a healthy sense of self-love. Rag Doll is clumsy and doesn't know much about the world, but her dedication to trying again and again after one fall and another reminds us how to keep up hope when things seem hopeless. Like all good stories, there are universal lessons to be learned. This is a story about kindness and doing what feels right.
Leslie Hollingsworth is charismatic and perfectly floppy as Rag Doll and Shauna Hepner's adorable China Doll is easily liked. With a nicely designed set by Richard Smith and charismatic performances by all the dolls, theatre with Second Youth is a good place to take the kids and the folks during the toy-galore month of December.