Review: Jack and the Bean Mágico!
Jack and the Bean Mágico!. Written by Linda A. Walker and Directed by Kim Selody, Presentation House Theatre, Vancouver. Live on stage at The Coterie, April 17 - May 20, 2018. Photos by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of Coterie Theatre.
We've all heard the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, the fairytale is quite familiar... or is it? This spring, Coterie takes what is old and makes it new with a fresh take on the classic tale. The musical play is a bi-lingual production, put a twist on the tale in a way that is entertaining and educational for young audiences. Students participate in the interactive production as they learn exactly what is required to make a bean grow.
The Coterie's newest production, Jack and the Bean Mágico!, on stage April 17 - May 20, tells the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in a fresh way. The show begins with the gardener/storyteller, played by Jake Walker (who also portrays the giant, the worm, and Papa) asking the audience what it takes to make a garden grow, and what it takes to make a story grow. The audience learns that there is a magic bean, that may only be planted if you believe in the magic and are willing to exchange everything you own for the bean. Jack (played by Freddy Acevedo) is a young boy whose family farm is struggling to survive. He trades his last possessions - his favorite toys - for the bean. Through a bit of audience interaction, the children are given the chance to purchase the toys prior to the trade, but they cannot afford them. Jack demonstrates to them the sacrifice he is making in this barter.
Through music, interactive dance, inventive costuming, and both English and Spanish dialogue, Jack embarks on a journey up the beanstalk where he encounters the giant, and discovers that bugs are crucial to a successful farm. The bugs and Squirm the Worm, teach Jack about decomposition through funny songs and dances - the children were hysterical with laughter as it was explained that bug poo is vital to keep dirt healthy for farmers and gardeners.
The show lasts one hour and is designed for children ages 4 - 8. My six-year-old daughter loved the show and said it was one of her favorites. The clever costuming, fun dances, and humor were engaging and entertaining, but most of all taught young audiences important environmental lessons. Both actors are gifted performers who interact well with the children, weaving together performance, interaction, and education in a delightful way.