By Kelly Luck
Fringers with families will want to save space on their calendar for Olive Juice Theatre and their take on the legend of Jason and the Argonauts. The tale, in which would-be hero Jason is sent in to retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece, is performed in a freewheeling slapstick style with lots of comedy, songs, and audience participation.
The production consists of Hunter Nelson as Jason, and Olivia Cabrera and Keegan Cole filling out the various other characters via some rapid-fire costume changes. Jason, having been told by the goddess Hera (in disguise) that he is the rightful king of Iolcus, heads there to confront King Pelias. Pelias agrees to surrender the throne if Jason will go and fetch the Golden Fleece. Jason secures the ship Argo and assembles a crew, including several members of the audience. They move from point to point in the legend, losing one or more crew members at each stop until only Jason himself is left to confront the serpent that guards the fleece. He does so, and returns home in triumph.
As noted before, this is a very high-energy show. It seems tailor made to give the kids an excuse to run around, pretend to fight monsters, have some good laughs, burn off some energy. The adults in the audience will be relieved to know that it’s still quite entertaining for the over-18s and that the copious amounts of audience participation are not, thank goodness, mandatory.
Nelson makes a personable Jason, and Cabrera and Cole do an impressive job of leaping from character to character. A simple trunkful of props and costumes serves as a constant set piece, performing duty as boat, table, throne, whatever is needed. It’s pretty fast-paced, covering a lot of ground in an hour but never losing its audience. While children’s theatre is not generally this reviewer’s cup of tea, she found this production genuinely enjoyable. It is showing Saturday afternoon at 3 and Tuesday at 6.