The Fantasticks at South Coast Repertory Theater (Costa Mesa, CA)

The Fantasticks is indeed fantastic involving two teenagers in love, good-hearted yet manipulating fathers and curious circus players.  Throw in the carnival theme, magic tricks, a little bit of swordplay and live music and you got me hooked.  It’s a musical!

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The rhythmic dialogue combined with the delightful songs cleverly disguises some messages that slip into your consciousness amidst the laughs and magic.  For instance, the second act that takes a slightly darker turn shows how love can transform with the passage of time and lessons sparking growth.

The show takes the leap from two teenagers wallowing in superficial and narcissistic folly to finding truth in having some worldly experience behind them. Trade fantasy for reality and naivety for some maturity.

Just like magic, romanticized love and the world are not always what they seem.  The magic used in the show is marvelous with many tricks making you look twice to wonder how it was done.

It was a joy to see all the actors fill their roles, especially SCR’s theater favorites Richard Doyle as the bumbling Henry and Hal Landon Jr as the straight man-Mortimer.  SCR audiences may know them as The Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”

I remember learning the Michael Checkov technique from Hal that included the use of a psychological gesture and movement quality.  Hal’s comedic dying in the show makes me wonder what preparation he used this time.

The show’s use of space and movement is delightful.  Special moments from the mute like creating the wall separating the two lovers help tie everything together.

Overall, the show is entertaining full of both substance and heart.  Go see the show and get hooked and hoodwinked.  To buy tickets click here.  The musical runs through June 9 with an opening this Friday!