The seven wunderkinds of PigPen Theatre Co.—a troupe of recent Carnegie Mellon grads who have racked up critical accolades and two Fringe Festival awards in four years—mount the kind of no-tech folktale theater that either melts your heart or gives you heartburn (I’m firmly in the first camp). Like their previous efforts, their first full-length production uses a winning combination of storytelling, shadow puppetry, Irish-tinged tunes and youthful vigor. An old man (Melia, weary beyond his years) who tends to a hole in the moon abandons his post when his wife leaves to follow a song. As our aged hero tracks her to the end the world, he voyages with a friendly crew of AWOL sailors, gets swallowed by a “prison fish,” befriends a lonely ghost, survives a near apocalypse and finally “finds” himself.
Like all PigPen shows, The Old Man and the Old Moon celebrates the power of imagination. These guys are witty, multitalented and adorable (if things had turned out differently, they probably could have started a very successful boy band). But what sets them apart from their peers is unflagging sincerity. While many stage artists in their twenties trade in snark, cynicism and obscure pop-culture references, these lads win you over with simplicity, creativity and honest emotion. They shoot for the moon and reach it.—Raven Snook
Visit the PigPen website for more information.