The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly

nytheatre.com review by Joan Kane
June 2, 2013

The Girl Who Forgot To Sing Badly is a fantastical yarn about a young heroine.  Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer and directed by Lynne Parker, storyteller extraordinaire Louis Lovett has crossed the sea from Dublin, Ireland to single-handedly enact different roles in this 60-minute show for families at The New Victory Theater.

Peggy O’Hegarty and her parents are packers. They squeeze pianos into bottles, bikes into paper bags and foxes into boxes. Each day they awake; mom reads the paper and laughs at the comics, dad looks through binoculars, and Peggy sings – badly. One day the O’Hegarty family discovers that the packing jobs have dried up. The adults leave the city to find employment. Peggy travels over land and sea to find her parents and save her city.

Performed in the style of the Panto, Louis Lovett delights children and adults. Drawing on the 15th and 16th century traditions of Commedia for an assortment of stock characters and other conventions, the Panto or pantomime takes familiar fairy tales and children's stories and adds a bit of Vaudeville, contemporary references and audience participation to create a raucous, noisy entertainment that's fun for everyone in the family. Another element associated with the Panto is a set that transforms the everyday into the spectacular. Paul O’Mahony’s ingenious, large, wooden boxed crate is like a Russian doll as it opens to reveal mysterious worlds through twinkly lights and clouds of smoke.

In the performance I attended there was lots of audience participation. The children frequently shouted at Louis Lovett when he made a mistake or portrayed the villain. The two little girls seated in the row behind me reasoned loudly why the Heroine would not find her parents. I have attended children’s theatre that has been condescending and boring. Theatre Lovett is miles ahead of the children’s theatre troops that I have experienced. They produce theatre that amuses, is playful and challenges their young audiences to think and reason. The Girl Who Forgot To Sing Badly is educational and a great deal of fun !

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