Princess Mimi or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Frog
nytheatre.com review by Nancy Kim
August 10, 2007
Fairy tales remain timeless no matter how you may dress them up. The Hamburger Theatre Company (comprised mostly of NYU/Tisch alums and current students) presents a tongue-in-cheek and campy re-telling of a familiar fairy tale in their production of Princess Mimi, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Frog.
Audiences will most likely recognize the Brothers Grimm version underneath writer Patrick Flynn's pop culture and contemporary references in this production. Hailing from the kingdom of New Jersey, Princess Mimi is a spoiled and ill-mannered girl who would actually fit right in with any of the other modern-day princesses often featured in MTV's My Super Sweet 16. In addition to her father, the King, and her grandmother, the Queen Mum (both played in drag by Miriam Mintz and Steven Olender, respectively), her only other companion is her precious, golden iPod, Poddy.
When Princess Mimi clumsily drops her Poddy into a pond, a talking frog emerges to strike a deal with her: he'll fetch Poddy from the bottom of the pond, and in return, Princess Mimi must bring the Frog to the castle for an extended stay. Princess Mimi agrees, but when the Frog returns Poddy, she reneges on her promise by pushing the Frog back into the pond and running off.
Whether or not you know how this tale ends, it's safe to assume that lessons are learned and all is happily ever after. In fact, the Narrators (Marty Gyler and Michael Lister are good sports in tight black body suits) serve to remind the audience of the predictability of the fairy tale structure as well as make fun of the presentational storytelling.
Like the outlandish costumes, the cast is allowed to have a silly time on stage without need for any explanation. As Princess Mimi, Sarah Todes is effortlessly bratty. And John Kurzynowski is quite winsome as the Frog. This production mostly fits in with that part of the FringeNYC aesthetic where camp and having fun on stage are the chief goals this summer.