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Cymbeline the Puppet King

Shakespeare’s Cymbeline is a natural for adaptation as children’s theater since it shares many plot elements of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The play has been much shortened and simplified. Imogen’s husband, Posthumous, and his treacherous friend Iachimo have been eliminated, and the sex and violence are reduced to minimum in slapstick. In this goofy, kid-friendly adaptation by Angelina Berliner, King Cymbeline (Stephen M. Porter) is an ineffectual booby, easily manipulated by his evil, ambitious second wife (Donna Jo Thorndale), who wants to marry off her boorish, dimwitted son Cloten (Adam Jefferis) to his daughter Imogen (Erin Anderson). But feisty Imogen (she calls her unwelcome suitor Cloten the Rotten) is having none of this, and takes to the woods, where she’s befriended by Belarius (Mary Eileen O’Donnell) and his adopted son Guidarius (Kirstin Hinton), who was raised by wolves, and is given to occasional howling. Many of the jokes are probably over the heads of most children, but they’re kept amused by director Will Pellegrini’s zanily frenetic staging, and the prospect of free Popsicles. The short piece (less than an hour) is performed outdoors, and best of all, admission is free. The Actor’s Gang at The Ivy Substation, Culver City Media Park, 9070 Venice Blvd.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m., through August 30. www.theactorsgang.com. (310) 838-4264.
Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: July 25. Continues through Aug. 30, 2009

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