Fringe review: RADIOACTIVE SPYDER

KidsFest musical with an environmental theme showcases a talented cast of potential future stars


RADIOACTIVE SPYDER by Deborah Adelman, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne (RS Productions/Fringe). At the George Ignatieff. July 6 at 4:45 pm, July 8 at 11:30 am, July 9 at 4 pm, July 11 at 12:45 pm. July 12 at 2:15 pm, July 14 at 2:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN


Spyder Theatre Company’s website says it produces “theatre for kids by kids.” While watching the cast of Radioactive Spyder in this musical they helped create, it’s clear that these talented young performers (ages 10-16) are passionate about the world, dedicated to developing their craft and thrilled to be onstage.

Under the guidance of adults like playwright Deborah Adelman, director Rae-Anna Maitland and music directors Carissa Neufeld and Kristen Zaza, the 15-person cast tells the story of a radioactive spider (Sara Iake) who uses this superpower to gain wealth, fame and influence. Animals from around the world guide the spider on a journey of self-discovery.

The play investigates themes like money, power and the environment. Although the plot gets a little convoluted at times, strong musical numbers and choreography prevail. The production forgoes fancy sets and costumes (actors wear T-shirts emblazoned with their character), keeping the focus squarely on the performers’ skills.

Many cast members are triple threats whose voices harmonize beautifully, particularly in the finale written by musician Sarah Slean. This is the company’s inaugural production. The future of musical theatre looks bright.

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