What a wonderful afternoon my three granddaughters and I enjoyed at the performance of Sideways Stories from Wayside School! I have to admit that it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Childsplay; in fact, this was my first play since the company moved to the Tempe Center for the Arts. But the girls enjoyed The Velveteen Rabbit at this theater a couple of years ago and were SO excited when we turned into the driveway and they remembered the great time they had here before. It takes us over an hour to drive into Tempe, and I am always a little leery about the girls’ ability to stay seated for the length of any performance. I had nothing to worry about, as the girls (ages 7-8) were completely drawn into the story and the action whenever anyone was on stage.
Not having read the book, all the characters and situations were new to us. The pace was quick, but the plot was simple enough and the characters “real” enough that they all understood what was happening and were often (physically) on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what would happen next. They all loved the crazy pig tails, the giant eye, and Rondi spinning and spinning after the storm. As much as the kids enjoyed the play, I’d say the adults in the audience were laughing the loudest – evidence this really is a play the whole family will enjoy.
Just a couple of notes about the facilities, in case you haven’t yet visited. Everyone we met who was working in the building was just so pleasant and accommodating. One of my girls needed a reminder to slow down, and a greeter gave that reminder effectively, respectfully and with a smile. The experience was very child friendly, with no long lines, quick entry, ample restrooms and seats, coloring activities for those who arrived early, and the kid-friendly art gallery. And, if a child happens to be seated behind a row of tall adults, cushions to boost them up are available at the coat check desk.
Altogether, well worth the long drive in and we are all looking forward to the next show!