Hilarity Abounds in Children’s Show at Mile Square Theatre
Back by Popular Demand, Great Family Theater, Runs Thru April
By Sally Deering
Photos by Craig Wallace Dale
Four talented actors transform themselves into a cobra, tailor bird, muskrat and mongoose in THE GARDEN OF RIKKI TIKKI TAVI, the funny and endearing play by Y York now on stage at the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken. The show opened Fri, April 13 and will be performed twice a day on Saturdays and Sundays through May 6.
Back by popular demand, RIKKI TIKKI TAVI first opened at Mile Square Theatre in 2011 and the theater’s artistic director Chris O’Connor has reclaimed the role of director for this 2018 production. It’s an all new cast featuring Andrew Baldwin as Nag the cobra, Cameron Blankenship as Rikki Tikki Tavi the mongoose, and Arielle Legere as Chuchu the muskrat with Blaire Brooks returning in the role of Darzee the Tailor Bird.
Arielle Legere as Chuchu
“It’s an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s short story from The Jungle Book,” O’Connor says. “Kipling’s story is very suspenseful. Y York, who wrote the adaptation, turned it into a gentle comedy. The first production we did had a long life. That was in 2011. That audience has aged out and now we have a new audience for it.”
York’s adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling tale tells the story of Nag the Cobra who has issues with Darzee the Tailor Bird, Chuchu the Muskrat and Rikki the Mongoose. Its funny and there are some nice life lessons about sharing and growing up.
Its really the story of the tailor bird who is the queen of the garden, O’Connor says. Rikki Tikki Tavi is a mongoose, and she wants to get rid of him because she wants the garden to herself. The cobra enters, and they discover that the mongoose is the predator to the cobra and they figure out how to get rid of the cobra.
Cameron Blankenship as Rikki Tikki Tavi
“It’s really really funny,” O’Connor says. “Y York is a wonderful writer. She managed to write a play that relates to kids and the humor reaches the adult audiences. It’s really fun to see a young audience piece that hits on both levels and this one does.”
O’Connor gathered a great cast for the 2018 production including Brooks who played the Tailor Bird in the 2011 production.
“Blair’s hilarious,” O’Connor says, “one of the funniest actors I know. I was very excited that she wanted to come back and do the show. Most of her work is TV and film. She has a young child and I think it’s a thrill for her to have her young son see it.”
Andrew Baldwin as Nag
Children’s shows tend to run under an hour and Rikki Tikki Tave clocks in at 50 minutes, O’Connor says, with a talk back at the end so kids and their families can ask questions about the show.
“We do this for all our kid shows,” O’Connor says, so that kids can learn more about theater. They’re always bursting with questions. They get a real thrill seeing the actors come out from backstage as people. That’s theater magic.”
Blaire Brooks as Darzee
If you go
Sat, 3 pm & 7 pm; Sun, 11 am & 3 pm
Apr 13-May 6
Mile Square Theatre
1400 Clinton St, HOBO
Tix: $30 adults; $15 kids