Infinity Theatre Company’s The Emperor’s New Clothes
A show of fun and fashion delights kids and the adults who bring them
Infinity Theatre — which has gained a solid reputation for bringing New York talent to the Annapolis stage — gives young audiences as well as adults a taste of professional theater.
Infinity’s production of The Emperor’s New Clothes is a delight; you know it’s a winner when the parents and grandparents cheer and clap as enthusiastically as the kids they’ve accompanied.
Hans Christian Andersen’s cautionary tale (as adapted by E. Gray Simons III) about not believing what you don’t see just because others say it’s there is timeless. Adding timely fun are modern references, an original sound track and energetic multi-character performances by four young actors from across the country.
Director/choreographer Erin Gorski crafts a tight, fast-paced and funny show. Performers from Infinity’s summer internship program are as enthusiastic about each of the roles they play — and about playing to the young audience — as their guests, who follow along in rapt attention. Acting for children is a bit different than acting for adults. A little exaggerated physicality is needed to keep the youngsters’ attention. These actors — Samantha Whitbeck, Zack Steele, Rachel Womble and Annapolis’s own Harrison Smith — know just how to do it without going over the top.
For an extra dollar, kids could build their own crowns, and the audience was dotted with them, the perfect topper to the dressy dress-ups most wore to the show (a refreshing sight in these days of adults showing up in theaters in T-shirts, shorts and sandals).
This enthusiastic and well-dressed crowd had a great time anticipating the king’s upcoming fashion show, at which the swindling weaver — already having suckered the palace out of baskets of payment — promised a robe of the richest fabric. Of course, all we see at the end is an underwear-clad king thinking he’s showing off the finest finery. It takes the village’s innocent youngster to say … Well, you know.