ROCKgarden Party! (third review)

ROCKgarden-Party-Charlie-Kert-KEY-promo-imagePlaywright: Charlie Kert
Director: Charlie Kert
Cast: Charlie Kert, Angèle Morgan, Luke Aquilina

Review by: Beverly Horton

I have a confession to make. I love children’s shows. One strategy I use to translate this interest into appropriately “adult” terms is to claim that I can use two particular children’s programs to examine adult disposition and personality type. Most late-forty/early fifty-somethings, I argue, can be assigned to one of two personality and disposition groups based on the answer to this question, “Are you a Mr. Dressup person or a Mr. Rogers person?” This instrument is as effective as the Myers-Briggs or “Colours” assessment instruments (or so I tell people).

I enjoy children’s programming that is fun AND respectful to children. Children are people too.

Some children’s performers disrespect children by infantilizing and/or patronizing them with baby talk, disingenuous smiles or fake “high-fives.” This was not the case with the performers in ROCKgarden Party. Earth Angel (played by Angele Morgan) and Skater Dude (played by Luke Anquilina) have the kind of happy, high energy that delights children and draws them forward. Both performers used song and dance to encourage the pixies to participate, but, unlike many children’s performers, both Morgan and Anquilina respected each child’s space and his or her choice to participate or not. (“Pixies,” by the way, is the term used in the show in place of “children” or “kids”).

So, in spite of the show’s engagement of the obligatory “let’s be green” environmental responsibility lesson, I enjoyed ROCKgarden Party. 45 minutes spent watching pixies and garden gnomes dance and sing (and dancing and singing a wee bit myself) was welcome respite from the sometimes painfully-earnest or self-indulgent fare we adults claim to love so much.

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