Young People’s Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and one of its biggest crowd-pleasers is front and centre for this fabulous achievement. The musical Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, adapted from the Canadian classic children’s novel of the same name, written by Mordecai Richler, returns to YPT for the eighth time. Not only is it YPT’s 50th, it’s also the 40th anniversary of Richler’s novel itself. The musical, revamped with new songs from song writing sisters Britta and Anika Johnson, certainly pays tribute to these two wonderful accomplishments.
Jacob Two-Two (David G. Black and Drew Davis in alternating performances) is a boy who must say everything twice, largely due to the fact that he has two older brothers and two older sisters, all much taller than he is, and for anyone to hear him, he must repeat himself. His odd quirk lands him in hot water when he is tasked with picking up tomatoes from a local grocer, offending the adults in the store when he repeats himself time and again. Jacob is sent (in his imagination, at least) to Slimers Isle, run by the frightening warden of a sinister children’s prison, the Hooded Fang (Damien Atkins). Jacob must use his wit, courage, and a little help from his friends to escape and free the rest of the children.
YPT’s musicals are always a blast, and Jacob Two-Two is no different. Stunning performances from several cast members, such as Kira Guloien as Mistress Fowl, Saccha Dennis as Judge Rough, and Damien Atkins as the Hooded Fang, help to make the show a truly memorable one. Wildly original costumes (costume designer William Schmuck) for characters such as Mistress Fowl and Master Fish (Matthew G. Brown), as well as for the Hooded Fang and the heroic Child Power duo (Sarah Gibbons and Jeigh Madjus) are eye-opening and only bolster the spectacle that is the musical.
Of course, YPT is intended for kids, and Jacob Two-Two itself is a children’s novel, but that doesn’t detract from the level of professionalism and mastery of the craft that both cast and crew exhibit in the company’s musical performances. Jacob Two-Two is certainly one show that audiences of all ages will enjoy immensely.
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang runs until Jan. 3. It is recommended for children ages 5 and older. Tickets range from $10 to $41. Visit www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca for details.