It’s not a freak show at Little Theatre of Alexandria but a production that is lots of fun with a serious message, too.
“Freaky Friday” is a comedrama musical certain to make families with (and without) teens and children of all ages laugh and have a good time as they recognize scenes and conflicts that may just happen from time to time at their own households, but “Freaky” has solutions!
It could be any day of the week, but it’s just another school day for Ellie but not for her mother, alas! She’s getting married tomorrow. The wedding magazine writer is coming to cover her wedding and what’s this? A parent conference, a scavenger hunt, and where’s Fletcher?
Another argument breaks out between mother and daughter and Mom’s loud voice and singing take charge, just like most moms’. Daughter Ellie (Sofia Cruz) and mother, Katherine (Kristina Friedgen), bicker over an hourglass which shatters and magically transforms each into the other’s body!
Take that and see how you like living in my life for a while…you! You! You! And they freak out. Of course.
In this exchange, Ellie and Katherine find out what life is like on the other side. Try walking in her shoes for a while, why doncha?
Relationships are what it’s all about and “trading places,” awakening sensitivities and sensibilities to more respect and love for someone who’s not me. Just what every family needs!
It may take the audience a few moments to catch on, but the skilful portrayals by the two women quickly convey the message about what has just happened.
Mom goes to school as daughter faces the reality she’s got to be amorous with her mom’s husband-to-be (Paul Caffrey is Mike). But to hug him like a bride should? Oh, please, spare me! No, kissy kissy, I beg of you!
The show has many appealing characters, none more so than the adorable James Campione as Fletcher, Ellie’s little brother who goes missing at the most inopportune time! But Ellie’s wannabe boyfriend, Adam (Joshua Mutterperl in multiple roles) stumbles upon Fletcher at a bus stop at just the right time where Adam croons a song about sandwiches, no less, comparing them to women. (“Some are hot and some are cold.” You have to be there.)
Naja Bates is “Savannah,” Ellie’s antagonist and school competitor whose performance easily convinces the audience she is a very mean girl, indeed!
Then there is Torry (Lourdes Turnblom), Katherine’s assistant, hilarious in her histrionics, trying desperately to present her boss’s upcoming wedding to the magazine in the best possible way, flashing her skirt as she prances off stage.
A familiar actor, Peter Fannon, appears in multiple roles, most notably as the slow moving stereotypical grandpa. You know the show is going to be a hoot when Fannon is on stage.
Director Joanna Henry keeps the large ensemble moving at a good pace, their frequent slow motion dances (by choreographer Stefan Sittig), the most effective slo-mo design I’ve seen.
The well crafted set by Myke Taister allows the crew to easily transition scenes from a kitchen, to a school, and bus stop, the latter which JK Lighting segregates on a corner. For the metamorphosis scene, the lighting company created and mixed colored lights and shadows for a magical hourglass showdown which filled the stage like the insides of a kaleidoscope.
Adding immense enjoyment is the ten-member band backstage playing under the baton of Christopher A. Tomasino leading the daffy music like songs to biology (“Oh, Biology”). Would you like a frog with that?
Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St., Alexandria, VA 22314, Wednesday through Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m. through Aug. 12, 2023. Tickets start at $32 (fees included). Order online (thelittletheatre.com) or call the box office (703-683-0496). Email: email@example.com. The Little Theatre has printed programs and is now mask optional.