Dan Boyer's allegorical solo children's show delivers lots of all-ages fun
DUNGEE THE DRAGON & THE JUST-OKAY JUGGLER by Dan Boyer (Stories by Dan/Fringe). At the George Ignatieff Theatre. July 6 at 11:30 am, July 7 at 1:45 pm, July 8 at 1:15 pm, July 10 at 4 pm, July 12 at 12:30 pm, July 14 at 12:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Dan Boyer’s solo show for kids, Dungee The Dragon & The Just Okay Juggler, takes a while to get going, but once it does the children’s enthusiasm skyrockets and never lets up.
The story, meant for ages 4 to 12, concerns the selfish King of the Kingdom of Awesome. He confiscates the people’s food for himself and holds parades in his own honour. (Does Boyer have any modern parallel in mind?)
When a Dragon, an exquisite hand puppet, complains to the King that those fleeing Awesome are disturbing his sleep, the King claims the Dragon is a threat and that the people need his protection. After two Great Knights fail to slay the Dragon, the King chooses the Just-Okay Juggler for the task. The Juggler traverses frightening terrain to the Dragon’s den, but realizes that the King, not the Dragon, is the real threat.
The kids think it’s hilarious to see a Great Knight with a sword in one hand fleeing a hand puppet on the other hand. They love making the eerie sound effects for the three scary places on the journey. They cheer when the Just-Okay Juggler not only masters juggling balls but juggling knives.
Boyer clearly distinguishes the many characters, but it’s puzzling that his delivery style is so hesitant. Luckily, the kids don’t care and have a great time.