Angela's Flying Bed
nytheatre.com review by Josephine Cashman
August 10, 2007
Angela's Flying Bed is an appealing musical about a little girl with overly busy parents and an overly busy life herself. Her father and mother rattle off Angela's own intimidating schedule and then remind her to "study for her play dates." When she and her family move into a new neighborhood, Angela gets a new bed. The Magical Bed, pleasantly played by Eleanor Ruth, is very good at flying, and together, Angela and the Bed take off on a happy flight. But then the bed crash lands in the ocean, and Angela discovers that the good-natured bed doesn't have a good sense of direction. So they embark on a trip around the world to find Angela's home.
Chris Clavelli cleverly directs his cast of characters through this amiable tale. Maya Gaston, making her stage debut, plays Angela. She is charming, though at times it is hard to hear her in the space, but otherwise she interacts well with the characters she meets on her journey—and what characters they are! First they meet up with the Selfish Shellfish (try saying that five times fast!), and then with a pair of tropical birds who are awfully pretty, but also pretty awful. Their circular logic and comical observations would make Lewis Carroll proud. Played by Lydia Gaston and Trip Plymale (who also play Angela's busy parents), they are spot-on with their timing and marvelously funny songs. The Bed and Angela also meet up with other talking animals: cranky llamas in need of a nap and camels who stick together as they roam the desert. Angela is able to learn from this motley cast of characters, and they have things to learn from her in return. Angela and her Bed finally make it home with a new frame of mind and a happy reunion with her family.
Written by Karl Greenberg and Dave Hall, the songs are filled with fast-paced patter and whimsical rhymes. Musical highlights are "It Depends on Your Point of View," "The Selfish Shellfish," and "Sleep on It." Pianist Sharon Fann works well with the actors and skillfully handles the music—she has a delicate and delightful way with which she plays. Sound designer Will Pickens offers crisp clean sound that evocatively sets each scene and it really stands out. Nicole A. Brodeur has some clever costume ideas, especially when she creates the underwater world, but at other times they feel a bit lackluster for such a Technicolor world that Greenberg, Hall, and director Clavelli have created.
Children will enjoy the comedy and parents will appreciate the wordplay and sly adult humor. At 60 minutes, this earnest and kind-hearted show makes it almost impossible for young audience members to get bored. It's a lovely way for parents to spend time with their children before school starts.