‘Go, Dog. Go!,’ A Captivating Canine Carnival

By Jennifer Woods

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Justin and I recently took our kids Gretchen (7) and Patrick (10) to an early Saturday performance of Go, Dog. Go! at Tempe Center for the Arts.

First off, I want to give a big high five to the team that created this dazzling performance that expertly echoed the feeling of the book.

The story of Go, Dog. Go! is about dogs and their day-to-day life activities that are very much human. Rather than adding a lot of dialogue to create a 50 minute play, the book comes to life as each silly scenario is retold through larger-than-life dancing and musical bark-singing set to whimsical French accordion music, making the words not so important and this play perfect for even the tiniest tots.

Visually, this show sparkles. The monochromatic costumes and bright graphic set design is much more bold and bright than the actual book.

The amount of audience participation was unexpected and incorporated throughout — from the introduction of MC dog in the stands at the beginning of the performance to the mid-show baseball game to the 10 minutes of food-for-thought questions post-performance with the entire cast.

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Speaking of participation, I wanted to share the thoughts the rest of my theatergoers. Here’s some of our car conversation after the play:

Jen: What’d everyone think of the play?

Gretchen: Good. Fun. It was kind of like the book. It had every single page.

Patrick: It was a fun live experience. They actually had the audience part of the performance.

Jen: For example?

Patrick: One example, is the part where they were playing baseball and then they actually threw the ball into the audience!! [Jen’s note: Don’t worry, Folks, the “baseball” is a large beach ball]

Justin: And the clapping.

Jen: What did everyone here not expect?

Gretchen: I didn’t know it would have lots of songs in it. And that they all looked pretty much like the book — because the dogs looked exactly like the book. I didn’t expect that they would actually have cars made and being used. I just thought they’d have wheels and move around. They actually had full cars. They had the trees and ladders so they could climb up. I expected them to just stand behind the trees. I didn’t expect it to be that fun. It had lots of pretty props and I didn’t expect to like it better than drawing horses. [Jen’s note: Gretchen’s current favorite hobby is drawing horses]

Patrick: I didn’t expect that the audience was incorporated inside the play.

Jen: I didn’t expect an entire audience of kids to be entertained the entire time.

Justin: Nobody cried.

Jen: The only thing you could hear from the audience were kids giggling and one little boy yelling “I LOVE IT” right in the middle of a scene.

Gretchen: Ya, I didn’t expect that the kids in the audience would yell a comment during the performance on how good it was.

Jen: Would you recommend this show to your friends. Should they to go see this?

Gretchen: Yes.

Patrick: Yes.

Jen: Is this more for younger kids or older kids?

Gretchen: It’s great for everyone!

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