Review by Julia Silverman
Confession time: Though it is one of my kids’ perennial favorites, I am not particularly fond of “Pinkalicious: The Book.” I mean, really. What’s the moral of the story there? All green vegetables taste repulsive, but one must gag them down in order to avoid turning a particularly violent shade of magenta? Please.
But “Pinkalicious: The Play,” back by popular demand for an extended run at Oregon Children’s Theatre? That’s another story. This is one of those rare instances in which the live action version far, far surpasses the written word. The play – and I say this as someone who has seen it twice, last year and this year, accompanied each time by between four and five preschoolers – is just delightful, with peppy choreography, catchy songs and humor that’s both broad enough to amuse the kids in the audiences, but sly enough to give parents a laugh as well. (Example: Pinkalicious’ mother, expertly played by local actor Melissa Kaiser, laments her daughters’ sweet tooth and fondness for the pinkest of cupcakes, wringing her hands over “all the money I’ve spent at that organic food co-op!”)
Broadly, the story follows our heroine, Pinkalicious, a role shared by Northwest Academy 9th grader Annabel Cantor and St. Mary’s Academy 10th grader Madison Wray, who loves all things pink, but especially her mother’s pink cupcakes. She eats one too many, and wakes up “pink as raspberry sorbet.” She is thrilled to bits; her parents are less so, and drag her to the pediatrician, who proscribes green vegetables, and lots of them. But Pinkalicious can’t help herself – she steals just one more cupcake, and turns beet red as a result. It all comes out right in the end, thanks to an able assist from her pesky little brother, played in OCT’s production by Lake Oswego High School sophomore Blake Peebles.
For me, the standout performance here is by Sara Mishler Martins as Dr. Wink, the pediatrician who is thrilled to diagnose Pinkalicious’ rare case of pinkititis, no doubt with visions of an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine dancing in her head. She brings the house down with a polished tap dance routine that turns into a running joke for the rest of the play. (Admit it: you’d be taken aback too if your pediatrician suddenly began tap-dancing in the midst of your appointment.)
Meanwhile, I suspect that many of the parents in the audience could ruefully relate to the duet performed by Kaiser and Todd Hermanson as Pinkalicious’ father as they try to persuade her to eat her vegetables (“Open up! Here comes the airplane!”) – with zero luck.
There’s also a subplot in the play, hinted at but not fleshed out in the book, about how much Pinkalicious’ father (secretly) and her brother (not-so-secretly) both also love the color pink. It’s a nice acknowledgement that while society at large may associate the color pink with all things girly, there’s absolutely no reason why boys and men can’t love the color too, in all its fun frothiness. The number of little boys I spotted in the audience sporting pink bow-ties is great evidence for that.
And, glory be, in the stage production, in the final number, Pinkalicious discovers that the broccoli, brussels sprouts and peas she must glug down in order to cure her acute case of pinkititis are actually, in fact, rather tasty. It’s an important message, one that always bears repeating. Which is why, if Pinkalicious returns for a third year at OCT in 2013, the kids and I will be right back to see the show again.
Julia and her family were given tickets to attend this performance on behalf of PDX Kids Calendar for review. They were in no way compensated for their opinions.