Theatre Review: Fun, Delightful JACK and Phil. Slayers of Giants INC.
The Columbus Children’s Theatre latest production brings the regional premiere of JACK and Phil. Slayers of Giants INC. to the Park Street Theatre. It’s a modern retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale set in present day and includes a new addition – Jack’s friend and next door neighbor Phil.
The play starts off on a simple set with the two boys’ homes on each side. Jack Spriggan (Mitchell Kallner) and Phil Coverall (Aidan Behrens) are probably about middle school aged and have been friends for some time. Phil and his dad, Bill (Brandon Boring) come home one day to Jack attempting to post a Home For Sale sign. Jack and his mom, Barbara (Krista Lively Stauffer) have come onto hard times and are about to lose their home and will have to move.
This is upsetting news for the Coveralls, Phil is about to lose close proximity to his friend and Bill is about to lose hope for a romance with Barbara. It’s also upsetting for Jack who looks for ways he can help him mother keep the home. He takes a family heirloom to the local pawn shop to see how much he can earn. The owner (Isaiah Colón) has a hippie vibe about him so it’s no surprise he would be willing to put out a deal of an exchange of magic beans for the heirloom.
Anyone familiar with the tale knows the beans are in fact magic, and happen to grow a huge beanstalk that reaches high into the clouds overnight. The next morning the boys head up the beanstalk directly into the giant’s house.
The first appearance of the giant (voiced by Brandon Boring) was quite a delight to the audience and every time the giant was on stage, children in the audience were on the edge of their seat. It is really quite a fun show. TonyaMarie and Maggie Prouty of Gypsy Cat Studios handled the costumes, puppet and props designs and they all add so much to the show and the basic stage set lets them shine. Curtis “Nitz” Brown’s attention to lighting and Michael Brewer’s set design easily transformed the stage from Chewsville, USA to Giant’s Home in the Sky.
Isaiah Colón’s performances of pawn shop owner, news reporter, and Chas Gravitas were entertaining and enjoyable. Kallner delivers a good performance of a kid who is under some stress at home and isn’t sure how to deal with instant-fame. Behrens’ performance as the level headed friend showed good ways on how to deal with difficult feelings like anger, betrayal, and being left out; something that many kids these days need advice on.
The running joke of knowledge of types of tools shared between father and son Coverall was amusing and Boring was great in the commercial for his hardware store.
Overarching themes of what it means to be a friend and an honorable person will leave you with things to discuss with your little ones, but they will probably also chatter on about how great the giant, and the harp, and the chicken were.
My eight year old left the show proclaiming she wants to attend everything the Columbus Children’s Theatre does, so to say she liked the show is an understatement.
JACK and Phil. Slayers of Giants INC. runs through March 11, 2018. Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 and March 2 at 10 a.m., and Friday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. Sensory Friendly Performances are Friday, March 2 at 1 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 10 a.m.
For more information, visit columbuschildrenstheatre.org.