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Family | Arts Zone

'Rumpelstiltskin' Spins a Gentle-Hearted Tale

September 28, 2000|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In Lori Marshall's version of "Rumpelstiltskin" for young children, the fair maiden whoreceives magical help in spinning straw into gold is a shy ESPN-watching sports fan in athletic shoes and baseball cap.

Her impulsive mother, who gets her into the spinning fix, is the royal seamstress; the lonely dungeon keeper is so desperate for clients he redecorates the cells; the king is clothes-obsessed and single; and Rumpelstiltskin is a bearded leprechaun who's looking for a laugh, not the queen's firstborn, as in the original.

Undynamic but good-hearted, the show is as much theater activity as performance, with audience participation, onstage and off, sprinkled throughout. An extended chase scene through the audience is clearly a high point for younger patrons.

Kathleen Marshall directs without much snap but with respect for the show's gentle spirit, and likable adult stage and screen professionals do a capable job: Steve Totland as Grumpy Gary, the dungeon keeper; Todd Lowe as handsome King Fancy Clothes; and Renee Albert as Dressy Bessy, an accordion-playing seamstress who dreams of becoming the royal musician.

Rob Zylowski, as a helpful Rumpelstiltskin, bolsters his dialogue with expert comic energy. Nicholle Tom (Maggie on CBS' "The Nanny") has sunny appeal as Shy Chloe, who's drawn out of her shell when she must think of ways to make Rumpelstiltskin laugh, his price for helping.

BE THERE

"Rumpelstiltskin," Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank; Saturdays at 1 and 3 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. Indefinitely. $8.50. (818) 955-8101. Running time: One hour.

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