*** Recommended *** The Icicle Picnic: Journey for the Sun, produced by Cabinet of Curiosities in the downstairs space at Chopin Theatre, was a charming and deliciously hokey space odyssey including live music, beatboxing, giant puppets, ridiculous talking appliances and some of the most talented and creative teens I’ve ever seen. 3 ½ Spotlights
The Icicle Picnic opened with 10-minute beatbox/harmonica concert by Yuri Basho Lane which was phenomenal. At one point, Lane had everyone in the theater clapping in time to his beat.
Three brothers, Clem (Michelle Billingsley), Buster (Sadie Roz Glaspey) and Lenny (Mark Piekarz) run a drive-in movie in nowheresville, Indiana. The drive-in was limping along showing old ‘B’ movies, but then the projectionist quit. Desperate, they sent new employee, Cow (Time Brickey), to run the projector.
While an old science fiction adventure in space was playing, their talking Popcorn Machine (Yuri Lane) received an eerie transmission from outer space. The brothers and Cow decided that nothing would do but to launch a mission to save the sun.
Once in space, they encountered man-made satellites pinging information back to earth and strange green aliens with octopus-like tentacles. The moon, which turned out to have a tiny face with lips that moved, sang a song directly to the audience as it moved around the space. When they reached the sun, it was so large it could barely move around the space. Somewhere in space they met a humongous walking, talking robot – which looked like it was constructed out of pvc pipe and duct tape.
Teen actors and puppeteers, Lorenzo Borzutzky, Selah Herrera Helphand, Delilah Lane, Cat Nickles, Theo Palmer, Avie June Schubert and Alexandra Plattos Sulack, were amazing. They were responsible for all of the puppets in the story – on earth and in space. Sometimes they wore things on their heads – cars and satellites – singing and dancing while wearing them. Sometimes they manipulated hand puppets. They carried the moon and made it sing, then they moved the sun. It took all of the working together to operate the huge walking, talking robot – with one under the body, one on each arm, one on each leg.
After the show, Cabinet of Curiosities Artistic Director Frank Maugeri invited everyone in the audience to come onstage, have a cookie and interact with the cast – and the puppets.
As there were only five days of performances, the run of Icicle Picnic has concluded, We’ll be watching for the next production by Cabinet of Curiosities, a theater and events community.