Theater Review: Maya Mouse' At Cape Rep A Kids' Show That Appeals To Everyone

By: Brielle Whalen

If you have been wanting to take your children to see live theater, perhaps for the first time or after a long hiatus due to COVID, Cape Rep’s summer-long professional children’s show “The Fantastical House of Maya Mouse” is the perfect opportunity.

The 50-minute, truly nonstop comedy centers around Maya, a movie-obsessed mouse with an imagination almost as big as her over-sized ears. After staying up all night watching movies, Maya is too distracted to get ready for her family’s planned beach day. It soon becomes apparent that something is amiss, as Maya discovers her house is making its own movies and trapping her and Lieutenant Whiskers, her pink-colored stuffed cat, inside of never-ending film loops. In each new movie set-up, Maya is thrust into another wacky adventure where she must locate and save her beloved side-kick cat.

The electrifying and zany show is jam-packed with movie references that both the parents and children can identify, prompting the whole audience to join in the fun of guessing which movie is being reenacted. The show spans many movie genres, from science fiction to spaghetti westerns to musicals. 

Playing a highly dramatic Maya, Chelsey Jo Ristaino is a ball of energy on stage, easily shifting into each new movie character complete with a different accent and creative costume. 

Cara Gerardi portrays Maya’s patient mother and the defiant Lieutenant Whiskers. As the stuffed cat, Gerardi must comically mime and mouth the announcer’s opening words during the scene from the old detective show “Dragnet,” since, of course, toy cats don’t talk of their own accord. 

The acting trio of Ari Lew, Ryan Sheehan, and Anthony Teixeira not only play a wide variety of supporting and over-the-top characters, but also provide many of the humorous sound effects using numerous instruments and their own voices. Their portrayal of the green space aliens got many laughs, as did their inventive costumes with see-through ponchos covering balloons attached to their shirts. Battling these bubble-machine carrying space creatures, Maya uses her “light-slicer, the unlicensed space sword” to pop their balloons as they engage in mock combat. 

After starting to watch a spaghetti-western movie, Maya magically finds herself caught in the midst of a “toot out” between Sheriff Rootin’ with his steed Tootin’ and Bean Bandit Bill. Maximizing the potty humor, both cowboys are wearing children’s horse-themed inner tubes around their waists, as they hilariously dance to “Swan Lake” and pretend to pass gas loudly in perfect time with the music.

Playwright and costume designer Holly Erin McCarthy directs the laugh-a-minute play, combining witty one-liners with loads of well-timed physical comedy. Taking advantage of the set of Cape Rep’s current night-time show “Noises Off,” Maya’s home is a two-story structure filled with many bedroom doors that come in handy for quick exits and unexpected entrances, aided by Tristan DiVincenzo scenic painting.    

Showing off their musical prowess and dancing ability, the multi-talented ensemble cast ends the very funny show with a mishmash of famous musicals, including “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Wiz,” “Grease,” “Mary Poppins,” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” just to name a few. This is one of those rare children’s shows that truly has something for everyone, as it fully holds the attention of the children while still entertaining the parents.

 

“The Fantastical House of Maya Mouse”

At Cape Rep Theatre, Route 6A, Brewster
Through Sept. 2

Information and tickets: 508-896-1888, caperep.org