Tabitha Toodlemeyer, Your Pants Are on Fire | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Tabitha Toodlemeyer, Your Pants Are on Fire

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Tabitha Toodlemeyer, Your Pants Are on Fire, Giving Tree Theatre Company. Tabitha Toodlemeyer hasn't mastered her multiplication tables, but she's racked with indecision. Should she play with her borrowed Space Alien video game or study for her math test? Should she steal a precious toy when the opportunity arises? Having done so, should she lie to conceal her crime--even accept an award for her alleged honesty--or should she confess and accept the consequences?

Similar situations confront children every day, and though this heroine ends up doing the right thing, her conflict reflects a candid assessment of her options. Hal Kilgore's narrative is aimed at children from 5 to 12, so subtlety isn't a hallmark of this Giving Tree Theatre Company production--there are traces of Rugrats and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. But none of the actors--Allison Paige as Tabitha, Blaire Beatty as her kid sister Jenny, Mike Mattie as best buddy Todd, and Janel Horvath and Kilgore as buffoonish adults--falters for a moment in their commitment to this prepubescent universe.

The play's 45-minute running time is geared toward school assemblies, and this is the touring company's first show for the general public. Wholesome but never sanctimonious, the ensemble deserves a permanent venue.

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