Jason and the Argonauts was delightful, totally and completely delightful. The kind of delightful where the whole family is talking about it all night, remembering little parts, surprising jokes, clever stage work and exclaiming “remember when they did that …”

None of were sure what to expect with such an epic tale told by only two actors. It’s a lot of story but it’s done in a way that is so smart and entertaining. My family unit consisted of 2 adults and 2 kids, ages 9 and 10. I would say that we all entered the theater as hopeful skeptics and left full blown believers. I know this review is supposed to be about why you should take your family, but I want to start with why you should take yourself.

  1. It’s smart, simply and humorously staged. It is a delight to see all the elements of a show contained in a single vessel onstage, to be entertained without a ton of effects and superfluous activity. I love a big show, too; we recently fell deeply in love with the Broadway Aladdin show, but this was harkening back to the bare necessities, and it was lovely.
  2. The acting is a joy to watch because these two actors are playing all the roles, the slide seamlessly from person to person, changing emotion and character with ease.
  3. They do sell alcohol in the lobby. Just saying.

Now, granted the first 2 reasons apply to why you bring your family as well, but I wanted to point out that it’s okay to go without them, too. Speaking of family, my kids have a thing or two to tell you about this play.

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Heywood (9, pretty sure they are an adult):

“It was really good, first of all—10 out of 10. It made me laugh a lot and I have to admit there was a magic boat of destiny (Heywood’s words, not the actors’). Alvah was right, they did use toys and there is a lot of references. The acting was incredible, there were only 2 people — they were really good together, they were quite comedic, they could jump in and out of character. They did a lot of things outside the box, like dealing with obstacles. 5 out 5 stars: watch it.”

Alvah (10, almost 11. Skeptical of anything outside of comic books):

“It was good. Well, they got a lot of funny jokes, they made some references. There WAS ONLY 2 PEOPLE. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? At first I thought this show was going to be terrible, mostly because I thought it would be so hard to do with 2 people [and second of all I was really scared for most of the time because I was in a high seat (balcony)] but they did a lot of things in unexpected ways. Sometimes they would use toys and they only used one main prop (don’t want to give too many spoilers), but it was really great.”

I will say that the story by its nature is complicated and there is a lot to keep track of. It might be useful to do a little prep work, maybe pick up one of these kids book from the library or if you’re like us, watch the 1963 movie version (which is just really, really good) so it’s easier to follow the narrative. OCT says ages 7 and up, and I’d trust that recommendation. Also, there are crafts in the lobby where you can try to make a paper boat. Plus the Winningstad Theater is just a cool space to explore with kids.

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Jason and the Argonauts runs through May 19 with shows on Saturdays at 2 pm and 5 pm and on Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm at the Winningstad Theater in SW Portland. Sign interpreted show is Saturday, April 27 at 2 pm.

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