by Wendy Gennaula • July 31, 2008 • Oh fer cute! The Supercilious Ways of Walter Wading is an adorable show for the preschool/grade school set. Walter Edward Wading III (K. Thomas Whitby) is a pompous theater professor who is reawakened to the joys of “staring at the stars and playing silly games”. The simple story serves as a canvas for all kinds of mayhem.
Walter Wading encounters three woodland beings (their true identities are revealed later). Movement, mime, and slapstick ensue. These three “sprites”(Betsy E. Mills, Melissa Alness, and Corey Mills) decide to perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Walter Wading is horrified by their misinterpretation (which includes the African jungle and a monkey fairy).
The very young audience was enthralled but the adults seemed to be having just as much fun. My ten year old loved the show. He saw “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Guthrie-his first Shakespeare play-in April. He felt smart that he “got the joke”.
I strongly recommend this show. If you know a child who you think might enjoy theater this would be the perfect first experience. The show is engaging and energetic and about 40 minutes short. Plus, SPARK is so welcoming towards the young and squirmy that the director, (Betsy Mills) put the following in their program: Parents, Now I know that my blood pressure can start rising if my child or children are wiggling and/or vocalizing in these types of settings. No need to worry! While we want to encourage good audience skills (sitting and not talking), we also want children to feel welcome, enjoy themselves and be eager to return to the theater. We invited all ages to come and we are glad that you are here! I know that when my boys were younger I would have appreciated such a statement.
So there you go. Grab your preschool child, niece, nephew, or neighbor kid (OK-ask their parents first) and take them to the Fringe.
Wendy Gennaula is a singer and actress in the Twin Cities. She is the mother of two extraordinary Fringelings.