Jackalope Theatre Company. By Sheila Callaghan. Directed by AJ Ware. With Kristen Magee, Charlesanne Rabensburg, Tim Parker, Rachel Slavick, Curtis Jackson. Running time: 1hr 20mins; no intermission.
Theater review by Kris Vire
In Sheila Callaghan's off-kilter Christmastide tale, sullen preteen Janice (Kristen Magee) is serving up bleach in her pink plastic tea set and building a bomb out of Barbies. Her mother (Charlesanne Rabensburg) whips up gourmet meals and worries. Their anthropomorphized Apartment (Tim Parker), chafing at its state of increasing disrepair, plots to kill them both. And yes, an NSYNC-era Justin Timberlake shows up, a figure of Janice's fantasy. (JT is embodied, hilariously, by Curtis Jackson, who also portrays two other dream guys: Harrison Ford, for Mother, and Janice's father, killed the year prior in a holiday-decorating accident, for them both.)
Callaghan's 2005 work might be a touch too clever for its own good, but director AJ Ware's Jackalope Theatre Company production matches it at every turn. Megan Truscott's shabby-not-chic scenic design is tricked out with all kinds of gee-whiz surprises, and Thomas Dixon's ever-creaking sound design adds to the creep factor. Ware's production also includes some actual magic tricks, designed by Brett Schneider; suffice it to say that of course fantasy versions of Harrison Ford and Justin Timberlake would be able to fly. Magee makes for an effectively creepy kiddo, but it's Parker's antically agile embodiment of the Apartment that gives the production its structure. He's an edifice with artifice.