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Funny, kid-friendly punks

Times Staff Writer

“FUNKY Punks in Bright Ideas,” Troubadour Theatre Company’s new children’s show at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, is something of a departure for the freewheeling, theatrical clown troupe.

The Funky Punks are the Troubadour company’s kid-friendly version of its edgier, naughtier adult self. Instead of Shakespeare stirred to a dizzy froth with iconic pop music and off-the-wall slapstick, the Funky Punks’ mission is to serve up a mix of anarchic silliness appropriate for toddlers on up.

Its new “Bright Ideas” show, however, has enlisted the services of playwright Joseph Leo Bwarie, who has written and collaborated on many of the Falcon’s best children’s shows. Bwarie, not madcap Troubadour artistic director Matt Walker, is at the helm of the show as director too, and he curbs the riotous excesses that the company’s adult audiences have come to anticipate.

Yet, if the 10 Troubies in the show walk a tighter line, the fun in Bwarie’s script and the play’s mostly crisp execution and lively choreography still make for a giggle-fest for the preschool set.

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The show begins when the Funky Punks, youthful clowns in colorful, character-identifying costumes (by Michael Mullen), make their entrance: popping out of a big wooden trunk, one by one. Dan Waskom, towering on stilts, is the last to emerge, an impressive sight gag. Waskom gets a lot of mileage out of his tricky stilt-moves, contributing a good deal to the physical funny business.

The Punks -- Waskom, Timothy Groff, Tina Aguirre Groff, Beth Kennedy, Andy Lopez, Rory O’Malley, Brienne Pedigo, Michael Sulprizio, Corey Lynn Womack and Simon Yin -- are thrown into a tizzy when they learn that their landlord is about to descend upon them for a house inspection.

Attempts to clean up lead to more mess, the disappearance of furniture, some choreographed soccer and basketball play (a little lackluster opening weekend), juggling, dancing, ball balancing and human pyramid building.

In a highlight that set some preschoolers chortling uncontrollably at a recent performance, Tina Aguirre Goff’s perky mall-rat character tries to capture the romantic attention of nerdy Laptop Timmy (Timothy Goff); another sure-fire hit with the target audience: a stinky sock segment, involving protective gear, tongs and slow-mo action.

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And, in another signature Troubie touch, the end isn’t necessarily the end. Wait for the energetic encore: lots of clowning and tumbling runs and somersaults off a trampoline.

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‘Funky Punks in Bright Ideas’

Where: Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank

When: 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Sundays

Ends: Nov. 13

Price: $10 (age 12 and under) and $12

Info: (818) 955-8101, www.falcontheatre.com

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Running time: 1 hour


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