Rocky Mountain News/ Scripps Howard Wire Service
October 1, 1999

Kid Vid, This Week's Top Videos.
By Doug Wagner

... "The hits just keep comin' from Globalstage. In the past year, its series of videotaped plays for kids has released Playing form the Heart, about a deaf percussionist, and Far from the Madding Crowd. Yes, based on the novel by Thomas Hardy. Yes, I did say this is a series for kids.

The secret's in the acting. Judging by my 5-year-old daughter's engrossment in these productions, the subject matter is no problem. She appears to be mesmerized by the expert but obvious pretending. It's nothing like watching a cartoon or even a movie; for her, I think, watching a movie is still akin to spying on other people's lives. With a play, confined to a stage, it's clear there's acting going on.

And in the case of the Globalstage videos, the acting's impeccable. It would have to be to draw her into the latest release, a production of H. G. Wells' philosophy-laden Island of Dr. Moreau. When megalomaniacal Moreau (Nolan Palmer) delivers monologues about playing God and defends his experiments that have resulted in this transformation of animals in "humans," you might expect kids to run screaming or at least nod off. But it's just too riveting. Palmer's is such a commanding performance that you never question his ability to convince his subjects that they've always been human.

For older kids, say 10 and up, who have an appreciation for science fiction that goes deeper than special-effects worship, this production (by Seattle's Taproot Theatre) is an irresistible package. Same goes for us really old kids.