THE PAPER SPACESHIP, Sulacco Productions, at the Playground. Children will like this warmhearted 40-minute musical, delightfully staged by Heather Elam. In the spirit of The Iron Giant and E.T., it depicts an unlikely partnership with alien creatures that helps a picked-on kid feel good about herself. Ippo and Sumat are two-dimensional visitors from the Flat World, fondly referred to as “our home on the page.” The Flat Worlders’ miniature paper spaceship somehow falls into the hands of Wendy (the charming Judy Fabjance), a girl who’s troubled by her diminutive size. Ippo and Sumat soon put that view into its proper perspective.

Though Wendy is regularly bullied by the bratty VanHuffle sisters, once she comes to protect her tiny, trusting extraterrestrial friends, she gains the strength to stand up to the jerks–with a little help from the audience and her wise and caring dad. We also learn the value of recycling.

Playwright Matt Larsen’s art direction consists of cutouts, amusingly employed when Wendy takes her flat friends on a bike trip and cardboard props fly by. Jeffrey L. Shivar’s songs are fun, ranging from feel-good to perky, though his lyrics sometimes get lost in the patter.

–Lawrence Bommer