Theater company turns 'Rumpelstiltskin' into gold


"Under the Hood Productions" is a new theatrical company formed by Dianne Hood, an actress and arts administrator at Maryland Hall, and her husband, Duncan Hood, who, in addition to being a fine actor, is one of this area's more creative humorists.

Under the Hood's first undertaking is in production at the New Annapolis Dinner Theater, where it will play on Saturday mornings through November. It is an original, funny, crazy, wonderful mounting of the fairy tale, "Rumpelstiltskin." Children of all ages should see this delightful show.

On one level, the Hoods' "Rumpelstiltskin" is for the kids. The story of the strange elf who magically turns straw into gold is spun out beautifully as the energetic characters mug shamelessly for the laughs they richly deserve.

But "Rumpelstiltskin" goes far beyond mindless kiddie fare. The cast works diligently to involve the children in the audience at all times, whether calling for their participation from the stage, or greeting them personally.

Moms and dads will quickly note that "Rumpelstiltskin" is not just for kids as there are many clever allusions to trickle-down theory, "Save the Whales," and even Queen Clarabelle's national health plan tucked into the story. And, at times, Duncan Hood's creative whimsy is quick to turn even a classic tale into a "Naked Gun" script: "And with that, morning broke." Crash!

Jim Newcomb, Kris Valerio, Carol Cohen, Stan Morrow and Scott Nichols are all hilarious. Mac Bogert's breezy songs are pleasing.

The New Annapolis Dinner Theater is at Exit 29A off Route 50, 626-7515.

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