Beat Bugs – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

A colony of bugs are bopping to the beat of the Beatles’ music: who could ask for anything more? Credit the creative talents of Pantochino Productions for being the first ever to bring this new children’s musical to the stage at the Milford Arts Council weekends until Sunday, October 28.

Based on the animated Netflix series, “Beat Bugs” was created by Josh Wakely and written by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti, with garden set by Von Del Mar, cute and clever costuming by Jimmy Johansmeyer, musical direction by Justin Rugg and staging and direction by Bert Bernardini.

A community of bugs with a slowish slug Walter, Barret Crowder, an inventive cricket Crick, David Katz, a friendly fire fly Buzz, Sydney Maher, a lovely ladybug Kumi, Ariana Morales, and a brave beetle Jay, Gian Raffaele DiCostanza, revel in taking an adventure, a magical and mysterious journey in their backyard. Led by a host of fire flies, these five pals are busy celebrating Crick’s birthday together.

Soon they find themselves in a land blessed with strawberry fields forever and deem it heavenly. Unbeknownst to them, in another part of town, a mean Mr. Mustard, Jimmy Johansmeyer, without the aid of his loyal assistant Prudence Mary Mannix , is plotting to build a Premium Power Solution Plant that would pollute and, ultimately, destroy all the flora and fauna, bugs and berries, and force any living creature to move their home to a new location in order to survive.

With echoes of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the pals discover this wondrous new nature preserve and conjure up the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band, led by Justin Rugg, to express their joy. Tunes like “All You Need is Love,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Yellow Submarine” and “With a Little Help From My Friends” create a new Woodstock, in this case Bugstock. They are helped in the song fest by Doris, a spider (Anna Hicks) and Postman Bee (Michael Battista).

Will Mr. Sun (Don Poggio) or the Queen Bee (Shelley Marsh Poggio) be able to save the day and the garden preserve? Can Prudence persuade mean Mr. Mustard to mend his mischievous manners? The show is thoroughly delightful and may make you itch for more. The cast is totally enchanting, even the nasty you know who.

For tickets ($22 online, $25 at the door), go online to www.pantochino.com . Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Milford Arts Council at the train station, 40 Railroad Avenue South. Free parking is at the bank lot nearby. A selection of

“Beatles” cupcakes from Sweet Cupcasions are available at the lower level speakeasy to enjoy at your cabaret table. Bring your own goodies to share.

Take the family to this new novel musical show with a message: wherever your friends are is home and love is sure to fill every room.

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