Grab a clothespin and head on over to SteppingStone Theatre’s production of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, a new adaptation of the Caldecott Honor book written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. You can almost smell the stinky cheese (I’m thinking Limburger!) in a fractured version of the Gingerbread Man story, contained in Scieszka’s book along with several other tales that also get the author’s fractured treatment.
|the stinky cheese man, presented through august 1 at steppingstone theatre. for information and tickets ($11 adults, $9 children), see steppingstonetheatre.org|
Jack (as in Beanstalk), the play’s narrator, trying to get to the play’s beginning, finds his candle being snuffed out by a snoring giant, who upon awakening can’t get his Fi-Fi-Fo-Fum in order and lowers a huge hand from the clouds above to get the stories and the cast rolling and rollicking onto the stage. We enter into the Fairy Tale Zone, where “The Other Frog Prince” story is warped by a princess who puts lip gloss on before kissing the slimy frog—who, alas, is really not a prince—and where Cinderella never gets to the ball because Rumpelstiltskin cannot come up with a fancy dress, glass slippers, and a coach! As for the Stinky Cheese Man, well, when he pops out of the oven and sings “Run, run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Stinky Cheese Man,” the old man and old woman who made him pinch their noses and set him free. Even the fox will not devour this fellow when he arrives on fox’s nose while crossing the river! Pee-hew!
SteppingStone Theatre is known for its diverse student population, and this play is no exception. The roles are played by children from grades 6-12 who rise to the challenge of putting on a professional-looking production for a large audience. Set designer Andrea Heilman mimics Lane Smith’s zany oil and vinegar illustrations from the book, allowing for flowing performances across stage by all the fractured subjects of these retold fairy tales.
Children from second grade on, and all children-at-heart with a sense of humor, are bound to enjoy the absurdity of these tales rewritten for stage by Kent Stephens and musician Gary Rue. There’s no reason to be a curd…come on out and enjoy a one hour performance. It’s perfect for a summer outing with grandparents or doting aunts and uncles.