It’s always fun to see a fresh spin on a classic story, and OLIVÉRio: A Bazilian Twist at the Kennedy Center makes it fun, indeed. This re-imagined version is a play within a play set in Rio de Janiero, a location that couldn’t be more different than the original’s England. And while the musical follows the same general storyline, there are many “twists” that make it vibrant and light. A colorful set, Brazilian sounds of samba and bassa nova, buoyant dance numbers, comedic moments, and some clever surprises are an interesting and entertaining contrast to Dickens’ darker tale.
Owen and I caught a performance this past weekend, and we both enjoyed it, especially after seeing a more traditional Oliver production in the fall. It was neat to compare the two — and be transported to the tropics on a winter afternoon. On stage in the Family Theatre, young guests also receive a guide to the show that explains this twist and offers ideas to make the most of the theatre experience. And it seemed that much of the audience did just that, as the applause was quite enthusiastic as the cast took their bows.
OLIVÉRio: A Bazilian Twist will be at the Kennedy Center through February 21. It’s recommended for ages 8 and up, but I think even some children a bit younger could appreciate it, too. Run time is just over an hour, and shows take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Tickets are $20.