“The Naughty List,” by Festival 56’s own Laura Brigham, is the fourth show in Festival 56’s fall season. This show also veers in a different direction than the other shows of this season because it is aimed specifically toward younger children. With a 4 p.m. starting time and only running about 40 minutes, it is ideal for the attention span of a younger audience.
The show had a very “Whoville” feel to it, with set pieces based on scenes from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” This helped provide some familiarity for the younger audience which in turn fostered a willingness to participate within the children. Also, director Matthew C. Scott had the actors use almost cartoon-style reactions and over-the-top acting that fit the intention of the show very well.
The play itself follows the story of four elves, Titterbell (Tayloir Pace), Setta (Candice Dickinson), Wobble (Brendan Macera) and Sparkle (Kim McClay) as they prepare for the Christmas Spectacular at the North Pole. Titterbell, who is in charge of running auditions, is trying to find the best elves to compliment the Sparkle, the diva of the show. When Setta (short for Poinsettia) turns out to be a very good dancer and singer, Sparkle becomes jealous. Concerned that she may not be the best elf anymore, she becomes rather mean towards both Titterbell and Setta. In turn, Sparkle becomes the first elf ever to find herself on Santa’s infamous Naughty List. When Wobble, an old friend of Sparkle’s, is able to talk to her and help her to see how she has been treating the other elves. She returns to the show with a new attitude and is able to become friends with both Titterbell and Setta in time to put on a fantastic Christmas Spectacular staring all four of the elves.
The show, while very different from the other three shows this fall season, is a lot of fun. With a more visible level of energy than some of the other shows, we, the audience, are wrapped in and cannot help but participate. While the show features the four elves, we too are part of the show asked to clap along, answer questions, and even help let Sparkle know that she is on the Naughty List. This type of audience participation, although sometimes a little “scary” is a great way to get younger audiences involved in the show, and even interested in theater.
“The Naughty List” still runs at 4 p.m. today, Thursday, and Friday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday and runs about 40 minutes with a small session after the show run by the cast talking to the children about Christmas and the holiday season. It was a fun show, and I highly recommend it, especially for younger children.
Aaron Kaufmann, of Tiskilwa, has a bachelor’s in Music Education with a minor in theater. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.