Monday, March 2, 2009

Rose & the Rime, House Theater, Chicago

After braving the swirls of snow and the nibble-at-your-ears Chicago wind, I sat down at the House Theater's current show, the Rose and the Rime, and was introduced to Radio Falls, Michigan: another midwest town that has seen more than its fair share of winter. In fact, it is always winter in Radio Falls, as a witch has stolen the town's magic coin, throwing it into a winter frenzy.

This original story was written and produced by Nathan Allen in the spring of 2007 while he was a visiting professor at Hope College in Holland, MI. This award-winning production is a folktale reminiscent of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Lord of the Rings, with several unique twists. The main character, Rose (Carolyn Defrin), is a spunky, loveable teenager who is to Radio Falls what Rorie Gilmore is to Stars Hollow in The Gilmore Girls. The production follows her on her journey to find the magical coin, and to discover both love and some terrible truths along the way.

While critics have said the Rose and the Rime lacks depth, I think that the simplistic nature of the production is counter-balanced by its inventive use of props and special effects--from fake snow to height-defying rope adventures to glass-bottle lullabies--and the heartfelt sincerity of the entire cast. Rose and the Rime is a folktale, not unlike Hansel and Gretel or The Three Pigs, so if you are looking for the twists and turns and surprises of television's Lost, you might not get what you're expecting.

But still, Rose and the Rime delivers. It is Aesopic in its morale, and Tolkien-esc in its epic journey. The production is emotional and heartfelt and simple, something that is rarely cherished anymore. And the original songs, moves, and creative use of people as props is definitely worth checking out. I would recommend this show--and maybe its magical presence at the House Theater in Chicago will bring spring to us, not only Radio Falls.

L. Stacks


Adam Morgan said...

Wow, this sounds right up my alley. Plus I've always loved the word "rime".

Lauren Stacks said...

The whole time I was watching I was totally thinking "Adam would LOVE this!"

It reminded me of a short story you might write or something. Beautiful, but minimalist.

I'd be up for getting a group together to go again! (My friend's bf is in it and I know he'd love the support.)

Adam Morgan said...

Oops, just saw this response! Thanks for the indirect compliments :) And I would love to go see this!