AN EVENING WITH MISTER JOHN (John Francisco/Mister John’s Music): 2016 Fringe review 51

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Childhood throwbacks are trending – Pokemon is in resurgence, and staples such as coloring books and ball pits are coming back in “adult” versions. There is a profound need in the millennial generation, as well as in older people, to find simple joys from juvenile activities that are out-of-reach in adulthood. A PARTY WITH MISTER JOHN indulges our desire to revert back to childhood, but more importantly, it reminds the audience how to be a kid again. Mister John – a.k.a. John Francisco – usually works with children using music to enhance early childhood development. Through music, he teaches valuable lessons which he believes we lose as we age. A PARTY WITH MISTER JOHN is a kids’ music show for adults, an hour-long, BYOB elementary school music class. Through interactive songs, Francisco and his band guide us back to those simple ideals of kindness, seeing others, and self-love: 

The ambient lighting of the yoga studio soothes the audience back to a mindframe that allows them to participate unabashedly. When one is tempted to withdraw from the action, or dismiss the message as hokey and pandering, it’s merely a signal to abandon our adulthood for the moment and just be – or see the world with the acceptance and positivity only kids truly can. Francisco balances the child-geared material with adult sensibility and humor; he can tell the audience to “shut the fuck up” warmly, ruffling no feathers and keeping us engaged through his infectious optimism. And he proves that at no age do we stop finding rain sticks amazing, or bubbles fascinating. A PARTY WITH MISTER JOHN is the evening out you didn’t know you needed. [Three Queens Yoga, 410 Monroe Street] September 16-17, 2016, fringearts.com/party-mister-john.

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About the author

Joshua Millhouse

Josh Millhouse is a writer, performer, and theater administrator based in West Philadelphia. He hopes, in the near future, to self-produce his own work. In the meantime, he's working hard, seeing lots of theater, and enjoying this circuitous pattern of trips to Wawa that is Philly life.