Storybook Theatre has been at it for 25 years now, entertaining kids 3-9 with interactive musicals and, if this show is any example, it’s the adults who get the real treat. Just sitting among wonder-eyed children and see their reactions, their amazement, their absorption, their innocent pleasure, is not to be missed. It’s truly magical storytelling because, at this Circus, the children are the show.
The challenge is how to create a circus in a tiny box of a theatre and – wonder of wonders – they do it. As the children eagerly rise up, volunteer, rush onstage to join the circus, the acrobats, lions, tigers, giraffes, bears, monkeys, all come to life. For comic relief there’s a shifty soda-man pushing spinach-ade (yech!), and a spoiler in the crowd who gets her comeuppance, but in the end all learn to celebrate life.
Actors Anne Leyden (Ringmaster), Melanie Wahla (clown), and Heather Keller (animal tamer), are charmers, and understudy Lukas Bailey is fabulous as nasty Mr. Grimble and nastier Ms. Notfun. Delightful book, lyrics and direction are by Lloyd J. Schwartz, with music by Brian Feinstein. Produced by Barbara Mallory with choreography by Paul Denniston.
At Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles, Saturdays 1 p.m. through July 6. Information: (818) 761-2203 or www.theatrewest.org