Pineapple Soup: Paper Bag’s New Treat
Got a recipe for “Pineapple Soup?” As concocted by The Paper Bag Players and the title of the group’s newest fun show, it’s spiced with giggles, dancing and cheers from 3-to-8-year olds. At my performance of “Pineapple Soup,” I saw some graying heads, accompanying kids, also delightfully cut loose, and perhaps recalling their own past experiences: The OBIE-award winning Paper Bag Players is now in its 47th year.
Creativity and imagination, as well as paper in many guises, are main ingredients in The Paper Bag’s remarkable shows. As the name implies, props and costumes, from buses and bananas to an oversized washing machine, are conjured from a variety paper products. Scene-stealers in this show are plain brown paper bags topped with ordinary kitchen mops transformed into shaggy dogs.
Created, written and directed by Judith Martin, the troupe’s artistic director, the new show consists of nine lively sketches that speak directly to children. Her current mix combines new skits with those newly adapted from former productions. Aficionados in my audience gleefully greeted “Dinosaurs,” a skit in which prehistoric creatures prove to be amazing dancers, accompanied by toe-tapping tunes by John Stone and Donald Ashwander. They also cheered the return of “Kitty,” in which Hannah Wolfe, in lovely lace-like paper dress, searches for her super-sized cat.
Among the newer offerings are a loopy sketch, “Big Bully,” where the featured character (Kevin Richard Woodall) learns to mend his ways after accidentally knocking himself down, and “Laundry Day on Avenue A,” during which Ted Brackett (as a flustered homemaker) can’t get ornery laundry—mischievous Kathy Dee, Ms. Wolfe and Mr. Woodall—to stay in a big new washing machine. In another scene, the audience fell quiet while Mr. Brackett drew on a large paper easel a picture so real it came to life and he stepped in to its world.
The title number “Pineapple Soup,” the 50-minute show’s finale, refers to an uninhibited dance that has the entire audience bumping, singing, and jumping to a lively beat. No pineapple chunks are served, but who needs them? “Pineapple Soup” is its own sweet treat.#
(In theaters throughout New York through March 25; $10-25; information: paperbagplayers.org)