A twisted kind of coming of age story

Hannah Daly plays "Lucy" a 4-year-old with a dark imagination in 'Mr. Marmalade.'Photo: Rebecca Gazaille Mr. Marmalade  Who Black Box Players Where 820 E. Genesee St. Syracuse When Through March 2 Tickets Free with reservation Review by Christina Riley

There is 4-year old girl with an imaginary, drug addict, executive, boyfriend and a  5-year-old suicidal boy who must repeat preschool for petit larceny charges and multiple suicide attempts.

These two disturbing characters are the focus for the dark comedy Mr. Marmalade, directed by Seth Landau. Landau tactfully addresses Haidle’s examination of the façade of intemperate childhood ideals with the inevitabilities of adulthood as told through the eyes of Larry and Lucy.

The all-student cast from Black Box Players of Syracuse University Drama masterfully produces the one-act play. Each brings their own panache to the twisted roles of the childhood psyche and really adds color to the play.

The cast of 'Mr. Marmalade.'Photo: Sam Odell

Lucy (Hannah Daly) and Larry (Keith Caram) deliver performances that bring examination to light. Daly, executes each line, clearly “oversophisticated” for her 4-year-old character, with the timidity and eerie awareness the role needed with unbridled retorts and unhurried delivery. Where Daly’s character is more cerebral, Caram’s balances her in a role that calls for more physicality and awkwardness of self. Caram matches each of Larry’s clumsy steps and ungainly gestures with a child-like speech that makes him more endearing and a bit precocious.

However, don’t let the unsettling description of the characters and topics mislead. This 90-minute play doesn’t drown the audience with forays into childhood depression and unsettling mental conditions. Rather, Haidle presents these heavy topics and deliberately balances out the dark with the funny which ultimately makes for an entertaining psychological ride.