“Junie B.” sets the perfect seasonal tone
I must admit, I’ve been reluctant to get into the holiday spirit this year. Maybe it’s the peculiar weather, or perhaps I’ve finally reached my true adulthood, but I’ve been wary of the tinsel and to-do of Christmas. Fortunately, First Stage’s latest show, Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, was there to give me just the push I needed to embrace the seasonal spirit.
Adapted from the Junie B. books by Barbara Park, the precocious Junie B. comes to life on stage with the help of a lively cast of kids and adults that engage, educate, and entertain. I had the privilege of watching the Jingle cast during a Saturday matinee, and as always was very pleased with the show.
Cast as the main character, Mallorey Wallace filled the role with charm and depth. I’m reluctant to use the word cute, but I can‘t help it. Along with her nemesis May, played by Gaby Musickant, Wallace brought an overwhelmingly adorable realness to the show.
I don’t mean to single these two young actors out, because the entire cast of the show was very believable. In fact, this is my first experience with a show almost entirely played by students, and I must say I was impressed.
The show was filled with classic kid shenanigans and the kind of bickering that reminded me how important little things can be to little folks. The scenarios inside the classroom are exactly the way I remember school—everything is crucial, and the tiniest thing can make or break the day. There’s also lots of kid-friendly humor (think bodily functions that make adults uncomfortable). Most importantly, top-notch, easy to follow dialogue helps convey the overall lesson of the play: kindness really can change the world.
Jingle Bells, Batman Smells is a great holiday option for families with grade-school age children. It’s very relatable, and has something for everyone with just enough holiday cheer to get your mistletoe growing.