The New York Times
December 20, 2002
Seven in One Blow, or The Brave Little Kid

Small and Strong

Axis - Seven in One Blow
The Axis Company bills its first children's production, "Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid," as the greatest play ever. Although this may seem immodest, the narrator offers a reason that appeals to the audience: "You're all in the play."

He's right. The theatergoers do have lines, which conveniently appear on a huge video screen. No advanced reading is required, and what could be better than a play that asks you to shout? Well, one that asks you to sing. The children help chase away a music-hating witch with a rousing chorus of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

All this fun is part of an updated version of "The Brave Little Tailor," the classic tale about a humble tradesman who wipes out seven flies with one hit and then emblazons "seven in one blow" on his clothes. He does nothing, of course, to disabuse his adversaries of the notion that he has whacked seven people.

In the hourlong Axis adaptation, directed by Randy Sharp, the hero is a lonely city child whose parents are preoccupied with their jobs and social lives. (Deborah Harry – yes, that Deborah Harry – does a video cameo as the mother.) And as this "brave little kid" triumphs over an ogre, a witch, selfish royalty and a monster, the audience learns not to judge anything by its appearance, from parents to peas. Even the identity of the brave little kid challenges preconceptions: just think of this twist as the Brothers Grimm meet "The Crying Game."

My son also thought of another reason that "Seven in One Blow" is the greatest play ever: the actors pass out candy at the end.

photo: Dixie Sheridan