Yesterday my daughter and I had the pleasure of seeing the New Victory’s performance of Mischief, their latest production for kids that derives from the UK. It was one of those incredible theatrical experiences, a WOW moment when I realize how lucky I am to not only live near NYC, but how lucky my daughter is to experience the kind of programming that’s at our doorstep. The show is as innovative it gets. I love watching her expressions when she’s watching a show of this caliber – in this case, it was one of amazement, awe and delight.
This show is like a modern version of Mummenschanz, which my son and I saw back in December. Both shows base themselves on child’s play and feature fantastic visual effects, simply relying on creative use of body movement and art. The eight performers in Mischief are creative and really seem to love what they do. They all come from around the world but hail from a company in London called Theatre-Rites, a company that creates work for young people. The work is commissioned by Sadler Wells, a popular dance theater in London.
In the show, a single visual concept – a Line – is manifested by colorful and frisky foam noodles that march, mock and mingle to eclectic live music in a kaleidoscopic cosmos where discovery and fun reign. There is a brilliant musician who leads the performers through music, vocals and sounds. He orchestrates the play while playing piano and making vocal sounds and noises such as wind, waves, whistles and even a bit of rapping. The performers use these noodles (much like the ones your kids use at the pool) to manipulate their bodies and movements, creating spectacular visual images. They jump through hoops, knock the noodles down, create people made out of noodles and use them to create smooth, graceful dance.
One of the characters, the character with her head wrapped in noodles in the photo to the right, is constantly up to mischief. She is left out of situations, tries to sneak back in with a little mischief up her sleeve each time. The expressions on her face are priceless.
The show is imaginative and perfect for kids of all ages. The actors don’t speak, but the musician illustrates their feelings in his own words with songs about mischief. Some of the lyrics include:
“Don’t want to get serious.”
” You sneaky rascal, you.”
“It’s much more fun to break the rules than stay in school. Someone’s got to be mischievous.”
Try to see Mischief if you can – your kids will really love it.
Mischief is created by director Sue Buckmaster, choreographer Arthur Pita and visual artist Sophia Clist. The live, on-stage music is composed by Charlie Winston. Lighting is by Guy Hoare and costume supervision is by Alice Wilson. The performers of Mischief include Claire Cunningham, Rachel Donovan, Gavin Eden, Valentina Golfieri, Phil King, Mohsen Nouri, Anwar Russell and Frank Wilson.
Theater-goers who buy tickets for three or more New Vic shows qualify for free Membership benefits, including a 35-percent savings.
Tickets for Mischief cost $25, $18 and $9 for Members and $38, $28 and $14 for Non-members. They can be purchased one of the following ways:
ONLINE at NewVictory.org
BY PHONE at 646-223-3010; Monday-Friday 12 noon-8 pm; Saturday 10 am-8 pm; Sunday 10 am-5 pm
IN PERSON at The New Victory Theater Box Office; Box office hours: Sunday & Monday 11 am-5 pm; Tuesday-Saturday 11 am -7 pm
Sun March 20 12 pm/Signed, 5 pm
Sat March 26 12, 5 pm/Talk-back
Sun March 27 12, 5 pm
Disclosure: I was given a pair of tickets to see the show to facilitate this review. However, all opinions expressed are my own.