Infinity Theatre Company’s The Tall Tales of Enochtesttest
Lies. Falsehoods. Tall tales. Call them what you will, some children cling to them long after attaining the age of reason, and Infinity Theatre is to be applauded for broaching the topic with a humorous touch in founder Alan Ostroff’s original play for three to 10-year-olds, The Tall Tales of Enoch.
Enoch (Lance Hayes) is just such a child, a rambunctious third-grader with super-powered imagination, nuclear-fueled energy and a likely diagnosis of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. He lives in a lonely dreamland, or Enochland as he calls it, where his motto is, “I do not lie. I play.”
He plays so well he assumes seven identities in seven hours: paratrooper, Kung Fu master, police officer, scientist, French chef, professional baseball player and giant. Is it any wonder his mother, classmates and lunchroom monitor (all played by the versatile Kimberly Wilpon) are frustrated? Is his new teacher, Mr. Worthington (Dan Reardon) in for the “drama that was second grade?”
Thanks to a patient counselor, a like-minded new student (both played by Wilpon) and self-evaluation, the answer is no. Enoch learns that his self-imposed exile is less inviting than the friendship that awaits him without self-aggrandizement.
This is no preachy morality tale but a delightful comedy of character sketches, puppetry and pop culture references that will entertain both children and adults. An original score of techno music by Clayton Colwell punctuates the action with bouncy choreography replete with jazz hands and ballet. The minimalist stage is decorated with one simple flat illustrating Enoch’s day in a cartoonish style that offers clear visual orientation before the action begins. Costumes works just fine at suggestion.
All three performers are top notch, but Hayes is so convincing that if he were not six feet tall, young audience members would be inviting him home for play dates. Theater-goers participate in the show by ruling on the veracity of his tales.
According to Enoch, “It’s not lying if it’s fun.” I had a blast at this matinee, so trust me that this is one kid’s show worth your price of admission, no matter your age.
Produced by Infinity Theatre. Directed by Lena-Moy Bargen. Set: Andrew Cohen. Costumes/props: Nola Denett and Emily Chalmers. Stage managers: Jimmy Mavrikes and J.Z. Zaeske. Production assistants: Samantha Brewer and Josh De Bernardi.
Playing thru August 4 at 11am Sa at Bay Theatre Company, 275 West St., Annapolis. $15: 877-501-8499; www.infinitytheatrecompany.com.