Shockheaded Peter

“Eat it up.”

“Eat it up.”

Shockheaded Peter; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday; $18. Green Valley Theatre Company at the Grange Performing Arts Center, 3823 V Street; (916) 736-2664; Through August 30.
Rated 5.0

The odd musical Shockheaded Peter delivers a grim fairy tale in the most dark, delightful way. This creepy, colorful and marvelously creative show is a musical adaptation of an 1845 German children’s book “Der Struwwelpeter” (“Slovenly Peter”) by Heinrich Hoffmann, who wrote cautionary bedtime tales where misbehaving children meet gruesome comeuppances.

While Shockheaded Peter debuted back in 1998, this musical isn’t produced very often because it’s hard to get the rights, according to Green Valley Theatre Company’s director, Christopher Cook. But thankfully Green Valley pursued and won.

And the win also goes to the audience, who gets to witness this fanciful, imaginative and wonderfully wicked show—clearly one of the most memorable and artistic productions to hit the area in a long time.

Let’s make it clear from the start: This is not a production geared toward children, though it is aimed at the inner child who is titillated by dark tales filled with madness and monsters. It’s a descent into a colorful Tim Burton-esque nightmare, and Green Valley hits every note with strong performances and a marvelous Victorian-era inspired production, complete with playful and artistic puppets, beautifully rendered dioramas, and creative gothic costumes, makeup, sets and lighting, all accompanied by a live four-member band.

This is a short, intense show—a little over one hour without an intermission. But during that hour, you are sucked into the morality stories of misbehaving children—a thumb sucker, a picky eater, a heartless bunny hunter, bullies, all of whom meet morbid ends.

The talented 11-member cast, who cleverly capture the overdramatization found in Victorian theater, is captained by the memorable and impressive Victoria Timoteo as the Emcee who playfully and sinisterly leads the audience through this world of wicked delights.