Adventure Theatre MTC’s production of Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt is a bounty filled with madcap fun and laughter. The fact that it’s part of a seven-theatre nationwide co-commission getting its world premiere here is a testament to the company’s award-winning quality programing.
Judy Moody makes it clear in a hysterical moaningly insistent way that she has the most boring life ever with Nothing of any fun or interest to report to her first week of third grade. She’ll even accentuate her displeasure with an intermittent ‘Rooooarr’ just in case it wasn’t clear. Other families have actually gone places, like sailing the seas or hiking the Grand Canyon, while Judy has only sat around or visited relatives for her summer. When the family takes a vacation to Ocracoke Island, she sets her sights on winning the prize from the pirate treasure hunt, a shirt—with Words on it! Forget that something like that can be bought for change at a thrift shop – no, in Judy’s world, it’s a bonafide treasure that she absolutely Must win, or Else. Roooarr!!
Kelsey Painter is such a committed Judy that even though her ardent whines start off as seriously irritating, her excitement is infectious. Once she teams up with her brother “Stink” nicely played by Philip Da Costa, they become sweetly endearing, playing off of each other’s strengths and blending into one another’s rhythms. Their slo-mo duo whining session is just one of the many laugh-out-loud funny bits that fill the show.
Heather A. Gibson as Smart Girl and Philip Kershaw as Tall Boy enter in full maroon velveteen pirate costumes, a sign they mean Serious treasure or bounty hunting business. Figuring out the clues with all the characters is half the fun and involves everyone in the audience. Inevitably when one of the characters asks – where did someone go, a little one will pipe up and point excitedly where they exited, and even add their own commentary to help. That’s the fun and engaging element, we’re all on the hunt together, wondering if that lighthouse prop will lead to the next clue, and then the next.
That the Artistic Director Michael Bobbitt could pull together so many accomplished and seasoned performers is a feat. Some of you may have recently seen Todd Scofield deliver some of the most touching scenes in The Book of Will. Well, here he is with that booming sonorous voice as a pirate or even more hilariously as the stuffy French cuisine headwaiter of the Claws Shack. Then, there’s Frank Britton, whose next role is in The Tempest with Megan Dominy as the all patient Mom.
Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt
closes June 30, 2018
Details and tickets
In one scene, the siblings roll on the ground in utter dismay at the prospects of doing Anything with Mom and Dad. The parents are seated at a restaurant sweetly oblivious to their antics, even while the kids moan in front of them like they’re at death’s door, or dance on the tabletops. Mom and Dad have seen and heard it all before, and they tune out the antics with parental ease and go about their lives. it’s all so goofy and adorable.
Director Mitchell Hébert and the designers use flash and skill to capture the thrilling moments of the mad-dash hunt. The silliness is ratcheted to hilarious levels with Hébert at the helm. The fun includes swinging on ropes, swashbuckling, and enjoying the non-stop gags and old movie references and classic tunes, including an outright homage to MC Hammer.
It was Artistic Director Michael Bobbitt who conceived of staging this compilation of two Judy Moody books: Judy Moody Was in a Mood and The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt. To think we could have lost this entire treasure in the fire in March that is costing over half a million in repairs to the office area, thankfully sparing the stage, with no one harmed. Still, the program notes that the shows are going on “among the ashes.”
The company has been going strong under Bobbitt’s leadership, as evidenced by the stellar cast and designers for this show. The entire theater community is aware of what’s at stake, fundraisers are being scheduled, and relief funds are truly welcomed. For information on how to help, visit http://my.adventuretheatre-mtc.org/dev/contribute.aspx
Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt is an example of this company’s exceptionalism. Here’s to more treasure, fun, and madness to come.
Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt . Adapted for the Stage by Allison Gregory . Based on the books by Megan McDonald . Directed by Mitchell Hébert . Cast: Frank Britton, Philip Kershaw, Karen Vincent, Philip da Costa, Kelsey Painter, Heather A. Gibson, Todd Scofield . Assistant Director—Kathy Gordon . Lighting Designer– Sarah Tundermann . Scenic Designer—Paige Hathaway . Sound Designer—Neil McFadden . Costume Design—Kristen P. Ahern . Props & Puppet Designer— Andrea “Dre” Moore . Stage Manager- Brittany Truske . Produced by Adventure Theatre MTC . Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson.