The Incredible Shrinking Man

Long Fringe

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd., 479-7529

Jan. 28, 7pm; Jan. 29, 4:15pm

Running time: 45 min.

Almost every Tongue and Groove Theatre production presents an opportunity for great fun, and this, the company's latest effort produced for the FronteraFest Long Fringe, is no exception. The Incredible Shrinking Man is similar in style to T&GT's utterly charming stage adaptation of The Red Balloon: Live actors interact with cartoon backgrounds, telling a story that has very few words and numerous magical elements. The big difference? The actors in The Red Balloon almost invariably appeared in sight of the audience; the actors here appear only as shadows on a screen, telling the story of Robert Scott Carey, who has an encounter with a strange cloud and suddenly begins getting smaller and smaller. While watching the show, you can't help but wonder how they're doing live effects, like having two different layers of projected scenery somehow moving at the same time. The "incredible" shrinking that we observe has to do initially with the light source and where the actors stand in relation to it, which makes much of the close physical interaction between the shadow characters impressive because the actors can't have been standing close together while achieving it. When the effects work – as when a cat wanders in and gets some love, or when the tiny Carey falls off a stool, or when the world dissolves into primordial ooze – you watch in wonder. And when the effects don't work, well, you forgive it because Director David Yeakle, Musical Director Justin Sherburn, and their incredibly shrinking cast and crew really are incredible.

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The Incredible Shrinking Man, Tongue and Groove Theatre, David Yeakle, Justin Sherburn, The Red Balloon, FronteraFest

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