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THEATER REVIEW / 'DON'T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS' : Setting the Fables : The Simi Valley show should entertain children old enough to sit on benches or the floor for well over an hour.


Several fables by ancient Greek slave and teacher Aesop have been interestingly assembled by author Carol Lynn Wright Pearson under the unfortunately cute--and totally meaningless--title "Don't Count Your Chickens Until They Cry Wolf."

The show, being presented Friday through Sunday by the Simi Valley Branch of the American Assn. of University Women, is fitting entertainment for youngsters old enough to sit on benches or the floor for well over an hour, and young enough not to grimace at the sight of adult women dressed as animals.

The 17 parables fly by quickly enough under the direction of cast members Kay Barker and Lynne O'Hanlon. Some are longer than others, with the story of "The Hare and the Tortoise" a (ahem!) running gag throughout, and members of the audience are encouraged to cheer for the slow-but-steady shellback.

Among the more amusing stories is that of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," featuring Lesli Hardy as the boy, Maureen Everlakes as a sheep, and Deni Lopez as a townsperson, with members of the audience recruited to play other townsfolk, sheep and the wolf. O'Hanlon, Jennifer Leonard and Marilyn Marzano play "The Lion, the Tiger and the Vulture"; Lopez and Janet Pultorak play the hare and the tortoise, respectively.

Each cast member takes several roles throughout the course of the show, and are costumed in evocative rags designed by co-director O'Hanlon. (The hare's suit earns a well-deserved special credit for the Kay Graves Design Studio.)

Accompanying everything, including a few songs, is pianist Leslie Frank.


"Don't Count Your Chickens Until They Cry Wolf" concludes this weekend at the Simi Elementary School auditorium, 2956 School St. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All tickets are $3.50; no reservations necessary. For further information, call 522-1773.

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