By Lucy Komisar
“Fairycakes,” written and directed by Douglas Carter Beane, is a clever, often funny, revisionist take on fairy tales, including Cinderella, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan for kids, with a leavening of Midsummer Night’s Dream for grown-ups. All in rhyming couplets. And with a few contemporary aperçus, including the manipulation of fear and guilt on which families are built.
And also status. Cinderella’s Prince (Jason Tam) can’t marry beneath him, which is a problem for Cinderella (Kuhoo Verma) as she must avoid being seen in her normal scullery maid clothes. But she is actually classier than he is and moans, “Who e’r could have thought my life could be froth. Loving a prince with jewelry so gawdy?”
Why was Deadeye Dirk (Arnie Burton) a pirate? “I’m not so big on the sailing.” Not across oceans, anyway. Better maraude closer to land. Also, he wears an eye patch and sails on a ship where all are “differently abled.” Captain has one hand, purser one leg, poopdeck has wheelchair access.
And they are plotting to poison Peter Pan. Peter will be saved by Moth (the great comic Jackie Hoffman): “I will drink what’s in that crystal glass.”
King Oberon (the fine Arnie Burton again), is a snobby royal (aren’t they all?) with a flowing red gown and glass of scotch that seems glued to his hand.
He chases after Queen Elizabeth (terrific Julie Halston). Attitude toward women obviously passed down to the House of Windsor. She tells him to kneel. He rebukes: “I’m a king.”
His wife Tatiana (also Julie Halston) is not thrilled and there is talk of divorce. Problem for the princesses is that if there’s a divorce, their magic powers disappear, no more feathery wings, and they will speak in prose. Also “there will be lawyers.”
Sabatino Cruz is a charmer as Pinocchio. “I can walk, check it gramps, I can run. I’m blowin’ this toy store, having some fun!” And the fairy princesses do their magic well. Lots of fun here!
“Fairycakes.” Written and directed by Douglas Carter Beane. Greenwich House Theater, New York City. Opened Oct. 24, 2021, closes Nov 21, 2021. Runtime: 2:15.