‘Mr and Mrs. Pennyworth’ is a story worth telling

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A mysterious disappearance of the big bad wolf, a mainstay of some folk and fairy tales, leads traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth to quick stops with other famous characters such as the White Rabbit to find out if there are problems in their stories.

One of the three little pigs tells Lindsey Noel Whiting (Mrs. Pennyworth) and Samuel Taylor (Mr. Pennyworth) that the wolf has been murdered but not by a hunter. Photo by Liz Lauren
One of the three little pigs tells Lindsey Noel Whiting (Mrs. Pennyworth) and Samuel Taylor (Mr. Pennyworth) that the wolf has been murdered but not by a hunter. Photo by Liz Lauren

The journey to uncover the heart of the problem eventually takes them back to Norse mythology and the forces of Odin who was behind the Pennyworth’s travels.

A knowledge of Norse mythology is helpful but not necessary because at the heart of the journey is the concept that if not able to tell a story because one of the characters is gone, then the story dies. Therefore, even supposedly scary characters have value and are important to their fables.

The journey is told by two humans, Samual Taylor as Mr. Pennyworth and Lindsey Noel Whiting as Mrs. Pennyworth, through Blair Thomas’ wonderful puppets, Manual Cinema Studio’s terrific silhouette projections and John Musial’s scenery.

Particularly notable is that when audiences enter they sit before the Lookingglass stage filled with the backs of set boards and some props as if waiting for a story to begin.

At the show’s end, Mrs. Pennyworth explains that everyone has a story and those stories are about good times, bad times and other times. At the performance I attended, the Pennyworth story had a happy ending but Mrs. Pennyworth pointed out that at some shows, it doesn’t end as audiences might want. She points out that other people’s stories don’t always end happily ever after but they are still worth telling.

“There’s a lifetime between once-upon-a-time and the end,” she said.

Written and Directed by Lookingglass ensemble member Doug Hara, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth’ is a story with hidden depths.

Details: ‘Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth’ is at Lookingglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson now through Feb. 19, 2017. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass and call (312) 337-0665.

 

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