Review (Kid +1): Something From Nothing (Ashkenaz Festival)


Something From Nothing is delightful kid friendly theatre that played during Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festival

Phoebe Gilliman’s children’s classic Something From Nothing, is – in the best possible way – a short and sweet story about a child’s relationship with his grandfather. The fine folks at Cascade Theatre have expanded it into a longer story with music, dance, and quite a bit of Yiddish as well (and mice. Lots of mice). It’s charming and full of fun.

Our cast,  A.J. Richardson as Joseph, Dan Cook as Zaida/Father and Dana Frankin as the Mother, was clearly used to large groups of children and unrattled by the various audience shenanigans. This adaptation of the story took a few liberties (someone small cried “That’s doesn’t happen in the book!” somewhere in the middle) but it stays faithful to the themes of the story. It’s cute and very sweet, watching young Joseph get older and obviously more independent but still unembarassedly retain his connection to his grandfather, whom he plainly adores. Dan Cook, who plays Zaida (the grandfather), is spry and funny with a great comic verve.

Stanley, my four-year-old review partner, enjoyed the mice best of all. He would like you to know that dancing kids are very well and good, but talking mice are very funny, especially when Zaida starts arguing with them. Anything else? I asked. At this, he sang the signature line of Joseph’s duet with his Zaida – “snip, snip, snip!” and then twirled around with a delighted expression. It’s difficult to imagine a stronger endorsement.


Kid Plus One notes:

Darkness: Theatre gets dim but never quite dark, and there aren’t any total blackouts.

Loud/sudden noises: None.

Themes: Family, belonging, growing up, fashion.

Seating: General admission, with folding auditorium seats and no boosters available.

Overall family-friendliness: High. There was a lot of music and noise to cover minor chattiness, and the staff are friendly, helpful, and kid-positive.


Something From Nothing played at the Ashkenaz Festival on Monday, September 1st.