BWW Review: THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SHADOW is a Fairy Tale Gone Hilariously Awry
I was not prepared to laugh that much. Theatre Lab's THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SHADOW could have easily been called "Peter Pan Gone Wrong". The musical-comedy takes the well-known story and flips it on its head.
Written and performed by the ridiculously funny ensemble - Lisa Gilroy, Mark Little, Natalie Metcalfe, Christian Smith, and Kevin Vidal - the adventure focuses on the parents' delirious struggle to find their children, taken by Tom Shadow to the Cloud Kingdom.
There are songs, and they're cute, catchy and fun. They don't knock your socks off, but they're easy to listen to and the lyrics will make you chuckle. Meg Maguire's lighting uses the most of the black box space - I particularly enjoyed a moment where a bright upstage light created a moody silhouette-effect.
In Peter Stevens' minimalist production, the talented ensemble can spawn any item or setting through the use of imaginative physical choreography. They all work so well together, you almost believe their messed up fictional family dynamic.
Natalie Metcalfe and Mark Little play Mom and Dad, who should be the grounding, responsible forces of the show. Think again. Little is never not funny, especially when showing off his graceful dance moves - gangly-limbed pirouettes for days. Don't let Metcalfe's sweet voice fool you - Mommy can be very, very scary.
Silk-voiced Kevin Vidal is as magical as the many characters he plays. Lisa Gilroy nails comedic timing and outrageous facial expressions, playing everything from sassy child to serial cannibal. Pretty-faced Christian Smith proves his multi-threat status with endless personalities and virtuosic scatting abilities.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SHADOW is sketch-comedy done right. I would definitely not bring children to the show...I think Gilroy would give them nightmares. Come prepared to laugh - but nothing can prepare you for how weird these people are. I mean that in the best possible way - I nearly laughed my pants off.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SHADOW, presented by Theatre Lab, runs through October 22nd at Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON
(photo credit: Samantha Hurley)