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'Just So' good for lots of giggles

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Members of the "Just So" ensemble perform a routine during a scene featuring the elephant herd.

If you are looking for a fun family outing and an evening of entertainment, it's not too late to take in the Sunnyside High School drama production of "Just So."

This musical has some really great moments as the story's main characters venture out to find Pau Amma the crab.

The elephant's child, played by Michael Gallagher, teams up with the Kolokolo bird, that role taken on by Alexis Arambul in the first cast (Yessica Honstein portrays the timid bird in the second cast). The pair venture out into the unknown. The elephant's child is inquisitive and wants to know why the crab continues to make life miserable by messing with the seas.

The Kolokolo Bird would rather stay behind in its nest and Arambul's voice is clear and mesmerizing as she delivers her vocal performances.

The duo, however, are told they must find the crab together. Matthew Gallagher's character, the eldest magician, insists nothing can be done about the crab without the pair of them working together.

The chorus in the opening number of the musical is superb. The harmonies work well and they are fun to listen to.

The scene that made the musical absolutely worthwhile features the cooking stove (Christian Murphy), the Parsee Man (Gavin O'Leary) and the Rhino (Avery Gardner).

O'Leary stole the show with his "Italian" accent and his whimsical lyrics. The expressions and dramatics of the character are just pure candy to a person seeking to be entertained.

He is so much fun to watch, the audience delights in his antics. O'Leary's character is quirky and delightful. He holds his accent throughout the scene.

Murphy's voice was a little flat in places, but he harmonizes well with O'Leary. His character is sympathetic and adds to the fun to be had during the performance.

Gardner's character is just plain rotten. He is distasteful and lacks manners. His arrogance makes his role as a bad guy all the more convincing.

The characters of the giraffe and the zebra, portrayed by Meagan Meyers and Kayla Rodriguez in the first cast, are too cute for words. The duo is trying to hide from the jaguar and leopard, portrayed by Sergio Ramirez and Kiki Torres, respectively.

The hunting scene endears the audience to the characters, who are expressive and delightful to watch.

The giraffe and zebra are portrayed by Yaritza Salmeron and Erika Gutierrez in the second cast.

The elephant's child and Kolokolo bird meet the giraffe and zebra and ask for their assistance in finding the crab.

Reluctantly the pair agrees and once the foursome arrive in the jungle they find the shadows created by great lighting effects do something different with their coloring. They realize they might be able to better blend with the jungle, which will help them better hide from their predators.

Transformations begin to take place as the characters reach new discoveries.

Throughout the journey the eldest magician, who created the world, makes special appearances. He leads the characters to new discoveries about themselves and directs them to find their individuality in subtle ways.

Kolokolo bird comes to a realization that each individual has his or her own admirable qualities. She questions finding the qualities that are needed to overcome the limitations of life.

She delivers a poignant song, revealing the fact that she needs to overcome her own fears to fly.

Before the story comes to a conclusion, there are still a few obstacles to overcome. The elephant hasn't yet developed a trunk and must encounter a crocodile to do so.

The party has yet to find the crab and resolve the issues regarding the seas, but with a little more determination will come up with a solution.

The journey brings about growth and wisdom in all the characters.

All I can do is say this was fun to watch and I encourage anyone who hasn't yet seen "Just So" to do so.

There are three more showings, this coming Thursday through Saturday, at 7 p.m. each night. Admission is $6 for adults.

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