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Theater Review (San Antonio): ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Other Just So Stories’ at the Magik Theatre

Adapted from the works of Rudyard Kipling by members of the Chicago-based Lifeline Theatre, Christina Calvit and Meryl Friedman, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Other ‘Just So’ Stories comes to San Antonio’s Magik Theatre in a delightful production that will entertain children and their parents alike.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Other ‘Just So’ Stories at the Magik Theatre in San Antonio.

The piece is performed by four talented actors: Jeremy Bilbo, Delvin James, Jovi Lee, and Randee Lutterloh. They each inhabit several of Kipling’s characters with the aid of evocative costumes designed by Carolyn Dellinger Stillwaggon and stylish headpieces fabricated by Lucian Hernandez. As they take turns narrating the stories, they make their way through Joe Cooley’s effective set design to transport the audience to India. Here, long swaths of blue fabric magically transform into rivers, hanging vines become transportation devices, and the arrival of the Djinn is accompanied by an enormous cloud of smoke.

Three of Kipling’s most familiar stories are related here — “How the Camel Got His Hump,” “How the Elephant Got His Trunk,” and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” which tells the tale of the brave mongoose that battles the sinister cobras Nag and Nagina to protect his adopted human family.  The actors are quite engaging, and they encourage audience participation throughout the show. At the performance I attended last Sunday, even the littlest ones seemed mesmerized. Indeed, at the show’s conclusion, when asked if they were ready to leave India, they shouted “No!”

The direction by Frances Limoncelli is fine, and the choreography by Kausi Subramaniam is impressive, especially during the spectacular duel between Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Nag.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Other ‘Just So’ Stories plays Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. through Nov. 4, with an evening show at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, at the Magik Theatre, 420 Alamo Street. Tickets are available online or by calling (210) 227-2751. Special community performances will also be featured throughout the run. Consult the theater’s website for dates and times.

The Magik Theatre’s 2017-2018 mainstage season continues with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Nov. 1-Dec. 30); Tomás and the Library Lady (Jan. 26-Feb. 17, 2018); Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (Mar. 2-April 7, 2018); Disney’s Aladdin: Dual Language Edition (Apr. 24-June 7, 2018); A Wrinkle in Time (May 18-27, 2018); and Madagascar: A Musical Adventure (July 5-Aug. 12, 2018). Click on each title for more information. More details can be found on the theater’s website.

About Kurt Gardner

Writer, critic and inbound marketing expert whose passion for odd culture knows no bounds.

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