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Blown Away by Poetry

nytheatre.com review by Josephine Cashman
August 10, 2012

Wendy Windstorm's gigantic sneeze has blown all the poetry out of Grumpy Harry's head, right before his annual poetry reading. Feeling bad for her friend, Windy visits her friends to learn about poetry. Since she's so forgetful, we, the audience, get to accompany her on her journey.

Blown Away by Poetry, created and performed by Liz Parker and Rachel Sullivan, is a delightful musical for young audiences. On Wendy's sneezy journey, we meet puppets and have a grand time with them, learning about alliteration, similes, rhyming and other building blocks of the poetic form.

Both Sullivan and Parker do lovely character work. Liz Parker's puppetry is adept, and she creates three upbeat characters: Sammy, an inquisitive rhyming youngster; Silver, a fish-like swimmer with a big heart; and finally Ms. Bloom, whose garden is a place to find ways to describe the world. She also creates a humorously cantankerous Grumpy Harry, a panicked poet without poems. Rachel Sullivan's Wendy has a sunny determination that is engaging and charming, and she also plays the intrepid reporter Rosalyn Rose who is looking for the inside scoop on Poetryville and its sudden lack of poetry. The cheery music composed by Isaiah Singer adds to the merriment.

The technical aspects of the show are simple and yet they help provide a creative and fascinating world for children. The simple yet whimsical sets are designed by Nancy McDoniel, with Megan Santelli as lighting designer and costumes by Abby Barker. Pulled together by stage manager Laura Lindsay, the performance runs a brisk and engaging 70 minutes.

With lively audience participation, we join in on the dancing and fun, culminating in the biggest adventure of all—writing poems of our very own. Parker and Sullivan have created an enchanting experience that encourages creativity.

Parents and children, don't be shy—seeing this play will be a joyful way to spend a hot summer afternoon. I had such a good time, I found myself speaking in couplets for the rest of the day.