“Your Wish” is a Commanding Success for Madcap
Review by Sherri Ogden Wellington
I’m feeling quite philosophical after watching “Your Wish Is My Command” at Madcap Theatre. Dylan Shelton, the Artistic Director, who is also the writer and puppeteer of the show, introduces another puppeteer to join him, Eileen Earnest. She is based out of Cincinnati and is not only a puppeteer but also an actor, improviser, and singer.
Shelton as a unique sort of soul who has found a way to mesh his creative side with his ability to improvise so as to superbly entertain children and adults. However, when he introduces Earnest, I begin to wonder how many others are there out in the world who like to work with puppets!? Why are children so innately fond of puppets? Why do people focus on the puppet and not the puppeteer who is obviously holding the puppet and speaking for them? …Why do I think that blue/green puppet bunny is so gosh darn cute? It is crazy! It is…Madcap!
Sorry, I divert from the review of “Your Wish Is My Command.” There is no scenery per se. There are two chairs and black curtains behind them. Walter, the “tech guy” according to Dylan keeps the lights on and the magic of sound happening. Earnest and Shelton explain how the play is going to work. They share that they will ask questions of the audience and they will build a story from their answers. The play is unique and one of a kind because it is dependent on this particular audience’s responses.
The show is broken into five segments. The first is led by Earnest who kicks Shelton into a soundproof hallway and has the audience cleverly decide what Shelton will have to figure out when he comes back. The second is where various puppets become whatever the audience wants them to be and have them give advice. The third skit is a take off of Little Red Riding Hood. The fourth is based on The Little Mermaid. The last one is a “Beasty Rap” where Earnest and Shelton each lead one half of the audience in responding to them in rhyme.
Like all of Madcap’s shows, bright and imaginative puppets are used, audience participation is constant, and humor is the fuel that keeps the audience laughing. His ability to improvise is uncanny. In this play, Earnest is herself amazing in how she remembered what the audience told her and how she uses it throughout the skit. Her humor and physicality with and without the puppets is extremely impressive. Her humor is contagious.
The energy between Shelton and Earnest is electric. It is simply fun to watch both of them work together. At the end of the play, like always, children are allowed to ask questions. Today the families got on stage and were able to interact and take pictures of their children with the puppets and actors. It is always heartwarming to see children of all ages interacting and enjoying the beauty which is the theater, although this one may appeal to the over 6-year old crowd, versus other Madcap offerings.
“Your Wish is My Command” is the last scheduled performance of the season. Go to Madcap’s website HERE for more local shows and camps, or schedule one for your organization at email@example.com.
Sherri Ogden Wellington BS, M.Ed. Fell in love with the theater when given a flower by an actor during the New York performance of “Hair.” She enjoys theatre of all kinds, but especially shows she can attend with her grandson.