Playwright David Jacobi gives all us grown-ups the chance to be kids again in his latest play. When a group of six 12-year-olders gather in their hideout to work on what happened last year, READY STEADY YETI GO turns into a real who-dunnit for the crowd of giddy youngsters just about to enter their teen years. It seems that somebody wrote “Nigger” on the house of one of their number (with only two African American families in the entire community), and they want to find out who the culprit is.
Shy Carly (Jasmine St. Clair) was already forced into delivering a public speech about the incident by her teacher, Mrs. Apples (Rori Flynn). Maybe an adult misses some cues when dealing with the young. Of course, suspicion immediately falls on Goon (Ryan Brophy), the designated troublemaker of the lot. But, as it turns out, Goon also has a soft spot in his bumbling heart for the pretty little Carly. Love in bloom at a time where the impact of anything and everything is magnified by 100.
As a play, READY STEADY YETI GO has structure and a goal – but it’s really more about how pre-adolescents see their world – and react to things that happen to them. As such, the cast of adults-cum-children are clearly having a ball playing their childishly ebullient counterparts at that crucial transition point into adolescence – with adulthood not too far behind. The energy and enthusiasm they convey cannot be overestimated as they rumble and tumble through the tale with vim, vigor, gusto and…well…kid-like passionate excitement. Kudos to the entire cast – also including Morgan Wilday, Kenney Selvey, and Randolph Thompson – for conveying the silliness, innocence, and warmth of a stage in life that we all went through and which left some of us with fond memories – and maybe a few not-so-fond. After all, struggling from one vantage point to the next is hard work and not for the faint-of-heart.
Director Guillermo Cienfuegos does a brilliant job of helming the production; he obviously remembers what it was like to be young and crazy and sweet. David A. Mauer’s scenic design captures the world of these rough-and-tumble youngsters just learning to face some of life’s disappointing truths – but also some of life’s exciting events. Christine Cover Ferro’s costumes add to the illusion of kids at play, while Matt Richter’s lighting and Corwin Evan’s sound help maintain a child-like atmosphere. Let’s not forget movement director Myrna Gawryn, who really keeps the stage hopping.
READY STEADY YETI GO will reverberate with childhood secrets and unbridled life while presenting a fun and laugh-filled evening for all. The only possible issue seemed to be the child-like whoops and yells and spins and falls, which could grow old after a while – perhaps too much of a good thing. A nip-and-tuck edit might leave the audience begging for more.
READY STEADY YETI GO runs through July 29, 2019, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Mondays, at 7 p.m. on Sundays in June, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays in July (added performance at 8 p.m. Friday, June 14; no performances on Monday, June 10 and July 8) The Rogue Machine performs at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice, CA 90291. Tickets are $40 (students $25). For information and reservations, call 855-585-5185 or go online.