The Little Lion (review)

The Little Lion (review)
The Little Lion (review)
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THE PLAY: Based on the historical novel of the same name, the title character is a teenage boy who had a gift for repairing all things mechanical. He uses his skills to help his Jewish family survive persecution in 40s Lithuania.

 

THE PRODUCTION: This ambitious world premiere features a cast of 22 making a serious effort. Unfortunately, the ensemble is uneven, with John Mincks in the title role ably anchoring the action and Lisa Kotula’s mother providing the show’s standout performance (the nasal voice by Sigrid Lampe is alarmingly incongruous.) Although the descriptions of the atrocities are expectedly disturbing, the action on stage is seldom moving (the potentially powerful final scene is upstaged with a video roundup). Irene Ziegler’s script needs trimming (almost every scene goes on too long). It’s sometimes effective when creating the family drama, but gets sidetracked by the historical messaging. The show opens with a lovely poetic moment, but quickly turns more routine. Tom Width’s blocking sometimes blocks faces and the staging is unexpectedly mundane, considering his experience. His set of wood-hewn panels provides an attractive backdrop, with Joe Doran’s dramatic lighting giving it perspective and depth. The music and sound effects by Paul Deiss are too loud, which take us out of the world created on stage.

 

THE POINT: This historical drama missteps more that it succeeds. It’s more earnest than effective.

 

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

 

On opening night, the former US Ambassador to Lithuania and the current Llithuanian ambassador to the US were in the audience, as well as one member from the story and her family.

 

At Swift Creek Mill Theatre thru 3/5

 

LISTEN TO MY REVIEW (as aired on WRIR)

LittleLion wide

(L to R)Tricia Wiles as Esther, Gordon Graham as Menachim, John Mincks as Laibale Gillman, Lucian Restivo as Joel, Grace Kolbert as Rebekkah , Lisa Kotula as Nese Gillman, Axle Burtness as George (Photos by Robyn O’Neill)

 

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