On Nov 2, the second show of the DU theater department’s 2017-2018 season premiered. “Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh“ is a wonderfully complicated tale of adventure and misfortune. With inventive sound design and captivating plot nuances, director Anne Penner invites the audience into an alternate reality that you need to see, or rather hear, to believe.
“Kid Simple” was originally written by Jordan Harrison in 2005. The imaginative play centers around Moll (Ray Reidenbaugh), a young genius who invents a machine that can pick up on even the most minute of sounds: the beating of a heart, the batting of an eyelash, even the growing of a toenail on a field mouse. Although she is no stranger to invention, this particular one, named The Third Ear, has an unfathomable effect on her life and the potential to disrupt the order of the world at large.
After the prize-winning machine is stolen by a manipulative master of disguises (Mikah Conway), Moll embarks on a journey, along with her hilarious friend Oliver (Anthony Adu), to retrieve The Third Ear before it destroys sound altogether. They encounter a host of complications on the expedition, including a seductive fig tree and a silent cello.
The intricate plot would be near impossible to follow without the help of the narrator (Isabelle Chern) to guide the audience through its twists and turns while simultaneously serving as a sensible character who is just as frustrated by the instances of absurdity as the audience. Intertwined in the action are deeper messages of love and sacrifice shrouded by laugh-out-loud jokes and raunchy innuendo.
The show as a whole has something for everyone. Whether it be the nostalgic costuming, the darker themes of betrayal or simply the moments of light-hearted romance and lust, even those who reject theater will find themselves utterly entertained.
“Kid Simple” is worth attending even if only to gape at the adept DU actors as they keep up with a fast-paced script and frequent costume changes. Conway is able to take on a variety of roles as the shapeshifting Mercenary, showcasing his diverse skill set, and Adu steals the show as Oliver by serving as a hysterical contrast to Moll’s wit.
“Kid Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh” captures the spirit of invention, the sorrow of heartbreak, and the confusion of hormones all while keeping the audience thoroughly amused and leaving them feeling contemplative. The show is running through Nov 12 in the Byron Theatre, and for first year DU students, the promo code NEWKID can get you free entry through the Newman Center website.