“Schoolhouse Rock Live!” review by Jessica

Another toe tapping, bouncing in your seat performance from the folks at Childsplay.  Schoolhouse Rock Live! was a performance that took me right back to the good old days of watching these musical cartoons when I was a kid. My boys ages 8 and 6 really didn’t know what to expect when heading to the show and the car was flooded with questions about what they were going to see. My daughter was more than willing to give them her version of I’m just a Bill at the top of her lungs from the front seat of the car; silly teenager enter stage right. With this show being right at an hour of stage time it was perfect for introducing my younger children to musical performances. It was a nice blend of story line and music and education that had them all (me included) shuffling our feet to the upbeat tunes.

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The set was layered with functionality: stacked boxes became shelves or television sets, or even hiding spots for hide and seek. My favorite by far was the inventive use of white boards and lighting to give versatility to changing words and reinforcing key points of the song. I was very impressed with the precision this took for the performers knowing exactly where their boards and bodies needed to be to execute this element of the show. One step to the side or a shift in position would robbed the audience of an important adjective or conjunction.

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Schoolhouse Rock was jammed full of songs, old favorites like, Just a Bill, Five, and The Preamble, as well as our new favorites like Interplanet Janet and Unpack Your Adjectives.  All the actors and actresses did a great job of belting it out, the songs transitioned well and added some really funny moments that had us giggling long after the show was over. One of our favorites was when Molly Robinson who plays Shulie, held her hands up sporting three fingers on each side and making an “o” with her mouth transforming herself into a walking “WOW.” Since the show my daughter has tried it out on many occasions.  School House Rock Live is a MUST see, toe tapping, rockin‘, fun family experience.

Jessica
Mom Blogger

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Jessica reviews “The Cat in the Hat”

Although the set seemed minimal on first look, simplicity is not a good predictor of the full of fun surprise we got when this play unfolded. Childsplay’s interpretation of The Cat in the Hat, geared toward the younger age range still had plenty to offer to the kids at heart that grew up with Dr. Seuss books. The actors and the sound team did an amazing job of helping the audience tap into that little spot reserved for imagination. The simple act of imagining an invisible bouncing ball had me not only buying into the make-believe but becoming so engrossed in it that I forgot that you couldn’t actually see it.

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The costumes and set props in this play blew me away. They were so detailed that I felt like the characters and the set jumped right off of the pages of the book. From the inventive entrance of Thing One and Thing Two and their expanding bottom box, right down to the black squiggle lines on the costumes just like they were drawn by a pencil, and the grand finale of props as Dr. Seuss’s clean up machine rolled on in. It was jaw-dropping and awe-inspiringly cool. It was like seeing your favorite made up object come to life even though you knew it was impossible. Right up there with seeing a real live version of Willy Wonka‘s Wonka-mobile and Wanka-wash.  This was by far my favorite part of the play but there were plenty of runner up quality moments like the inventive use of the kites on wires, stacking of  Cat’s objects while showing top notch balancing skills, and the ever so animated fish in the fishbowl.

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The actors were funny, witty and well studied. When it came to portraying their characters, Katie McFadzen staring as The Cat introduced a silly and worry-free attitude toward reeking havoc on the unsuspecting while Thing One and Thing Two’s crazy antics and laughter had us all chuckling as we watched the mess they made get bigger and bigger.

This creative and fun play is a must see for everyone.  I was a little disappointed that my whole family couldn’t be there to experience fun but it was overshadowed quickly by the six year old giggles that I heard coming from the seats next to me. We were so lucky to have a friend along to help experience the excitement that we always seem to take away from Childsplay productions. I have spent the last week thinking of ways to incorporate a fun game of invisible hand ball and bringing back a little bit of crazy fun to our family. Seeing the Cat in the Hat come to life reminded me of how fun it is to be a kid, we had such a good time. I hope that my kids will remember this moment and bank it in their little vaults of happy times. Thank you again Childsplay for another great production.

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Jessica
Mom Blogger