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REVIEW: The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi


By Adam F. Cohen


originally published: 04/19/2018

REVIEW: The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi

(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- Children’s theater is a misnomer in the hands of director Chris O’Connor and the cast of The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi.  This is a pristine imaginative in everyway production – funny, engaging, charming. It is the perfect introduction for theater for any age.  You can’t be bored with the colorful costumes, snappy actors, witty script, and beautiful set.  It’s the perfect bromide to uncertain spring weather while opening parents and children up to lots to talk about beyond screen-time.

The garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi (Cameron Blankenship), although you just call him Rikki cause he’s a small mongoose who hasn’t earned Tikki Tavi (yet), is lush and colorful. There’s a nest where Darzee the bird (Blaire Brooks) – proud and a bit selfish resides.  She wants the garden all to herself and she’s willing to sacrifice Rikki to keep it that way. Darzee and Chuchu (Arielle Legere) plot to get rid of Rikki.  The three must work together to fend off evil cobra Nag (Andrew Baldwin).

This is a tremendous production.  The script by Y York is peppered with one liners and morals – but thanks to the pert, playful direction – it flies by in a colorful whirl.  Technically the show is top-notch.  The set by Jen Price Fick is simple but gorgeous – with colorful curtains suggesting India, a lush nest, fence, and a bush.  Peter Fogel’s costumes are excellent, gently suggesting the animals. 

The actors are uniformly excellent.  They form a wonderful collective and the production feels fresh and spontaneous – almost improvised. Blankenship has bright, wide blue eyes and his performance as Rikki is charming and winning.  He veers through emotions as he comes into his own, earning his name.  Baldwin is tremendous in his dual role – sweet as the boy who adores his garden pets and slinky as Nag.  He’s a credible villain.  Legere is sprightly, cute and fun.  Brooks is wonderous.  O’Connor’s direction is intelligen and jaunty.  This is a tremendous show illustrating the magic of acting, lights, costumes, music, and fun.

Book your tickets and be sure to stay afterwards for a question and answer session with the cast.  Tickets and more information are available online.



 
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The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi runs now through May 6th at Mile Square Theatre (1400 Clinton Street) in Hoboken, New Jersey.

PHOTO: Andrew Baldwin, Cameron Blankenship, Arielle Legere, and Blaire Brooks in MST’s production of Y York’s The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi.




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