Friday, April 23, 2004

‘Fables 2’ is lively
and funny

If you enjoyed Lisa Matsumoto's "Fun with Fables," you are definitely in for a treat with its sequel. "Fun with Fables 2" is livelier, energetic and funny, with characters more colorful than before.

"Fun with Fables 2"

Presented by 'Ohi'a Productions

Where: Honolulu Zoo, Main Meadow Stage

When: 6 p.m. today, tomorrow and Sunday

Admission: $5; tickets can be purchased before showtimes at the Monsarrat gate

Society's fast pace often leaves little time for instilling in our children the importance of good morals. Aesop's Fables offer simple, short stories that kids can relate to their lives, and through some local-style retelling, kids pick up some fun lessons in honesty, confidence, sincerity, patience, harmony and gratitude.

The five fables presented are "The Milkmaid and Her Pail," "The Tortoise and the Hare," "The Fox and the Grapes," "The Fox and the Crab" and "The Fox and the Crow."

The zoo meadow is the perfect setting for a show in which clever animal characters are employed to teach some of life's hard lessons in the production. The open-air meadow also allows children to get up and wander about freely, without interfering with the performances. Many families enjoyed picnic lunches on the lawn.

Once the show started, the actors held the kids' attention throughout the performance, singing and dancing in ways similar to TV's Barney or the Wiggles.

Noelle Poole portrayed an overly hyper hare, a funky crab and a vain crow. Kevin Yamada also kept the audience chuckling as a fox with a funky accent. As Tommy the Tortoise, he moved in slow motion and sang a cheerful song about "taking it easy."

The moral of the milkmaid segment is "don't count your chickens before they hatch." Yamada tells the tale as Poole announces, "milk does the milkmaid good." Of course, in the end she spills her pail of milk on top of Yamada's head -- definitely getting a chuckle from the kids.

Then, the race was on between the tortoise and the hare. Commentator Howard Gazelle, played by Denise White, had the kids roaring with laughter. Silly costumes added just the right touch.

"The Crab and the Fox" conveys the message that it's best to be content with what you have, because it can always be worse, as Poole danced her way across the stage in a zany crab outfit.

Yamada presents "The Fox and the Crow" in song as he tries to snatch a tasty piece of cheese away from the vain crow (Poole), who learns flattery isn't always sincere.

Performances are geared toward preschool to second-grade children, but even adults will enjoy the tales.

"Fun with Fables" was 'Ohi'a Production's first touring show in 1995. The past two shows included new music by Roslyn Catracchia. The original and lively songs add zest to this updated "Fables," as well. Once again, actors' faces were not covered to avoid frightening younger children.

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