(left to right) Freddy Acevedo (as Jack) and Jake Walker (as Gardener). Photo by J. Robert Schraeder, courtesy of Coterie Theatre.
By Malonda Hutson
A trip to the Coterie is always a great time and the production of JACK AND THE BEAN MÁGICO is no exception. I had the honor of being accompanied by my three kids, ages 4, 8 and 10, and while this production is certainly enjoyable for everyone, I think the sweet spot is age 3-6.
For the Wednesday afternoon performance, we joined noisy throngs of elementary school kids on field trips. Their excitement filled the space to a near-deafening roar, but they immediately quieted down as soon as the show began with the appearance of The Gardener. The production is based around the familiar tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” featuring original music from Cathy Nosaty and a script in both English and Spanish by Linda A. Carson, all wrapped up with a modern environmental twist.
This two-man show is ripe with talent, and boy do Jake Walker and Freddy Acevedo know how to work a crowd of kids, including reminding them to remain quiet by skillfully saying “the bean is getting overwhelmed.”
Walker and Acevedo get everyone involved from the start, taking us through imaginative adventures that start with everyone becoming bean seeds and bugs, and end with a full-on dance party with disco lights. JACK AND THE BEAN MÁGICO’s simple set from designer Rafael Toribio lends itself well to the imagination, and it was fun to watch with my 4-year-old who was very surprised to see the beanstalk “grow.” It’s a great use of the space, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
Overall, my 4-year-old was utterly enchanted. Literally on the edge of her seat throughout. My 8- and 10-year-olds were a little too old for this demographic, but they certainly had fun…even if there were a few eye rolls from the oldest, he was dabbing to the disco lights by the end.
JACK AND THE BEAN MÁGICO runs through May 20th. More info at thecoterie.org