What if anything you painted came to life? You'd be considerably better off, but you'd really have to watch your back.
That's the crux of "Ben and the Magic Paintbrush," the latest fantasy adventure from South Coast Repertory's Theater for Young Audiences series. It'll have the kiddies cheering its heroes and (on occasion) jeering one of youth theater's most deliciously detestable villains.
The title character, a young orphan boy (Stewart Calhoun), has this unique ability. He hopes to use it to improve the lot of himself and his sister (Gloria Garayua), who subsist from his drawings and her impersonation of a bronze statue. Both young performers are quite effective, with Garayua drawing extra credit for her gilded pantomime.
Into their path swoops the evil Cynthia Crawly (Shannon Holt in a bravura performance), who, with her doltish husband (SCR veteran Richard Doyle), hope to amass a fortune from the youngster's talent.