Sarah’s Review of “Perô, or the Mysteries of the Night”

A few days after seeing Childsplay’s Perô, or the Mysteries of the Night, my daughter wants to go back and see it again. I, on the other hand, want to go to Italy and eat pastries.

Let me clarify. It’s not because I didn’t care for the show. On the contrary, it was darling. But the story of an Italian baker set to a catchy European soundtrack has given me a serious case of wanderlust (and made me hungry)!

For the time being I will settle for living vicariously through Perô, his neighbor Columbina, and the flamboyant Paletino the painter in this sweet tale. Cleverly narrated by the sun and the moon, Perô tells the story of star-crossed lovers (puppets, actually) whose occupations – a baker who bakes by moonlight and a washer woman who needs the sun to dry her clothes – have kept them at bay. It takes a surprise visitor shaking things up in their quiet village to help the characters realize what they truly want.

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While the sun and the moon narrated the bulk of the tale, they were also the musicians and one of the highlights of the show. I can’t remember seeing another Childsplay performance with live music and it was a treat! My daughter, her friend and I tapped along to the upbeat tunes throughout.

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The other highlight, in my opinion, was the clever – yet simple – set construction. It was fun to watch the “handlers” bring the puppets to life inside their little white houses. But it was even more interesting to watch the big black box in center stage transform into a colorful, tranquil countryside complete with fluttering butterflies, falling leaves and…pasta. Yes, noodles galore.

My 11-year-old dates both loved the show and asked to see it again. And I would, too – only this time, I would plan on a post-production pastry run.

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Heather’s Review of “Perô or the Mysteries of the Night”

I am lucky enough to be one of the Childsplay Family2Family Bloggers for their 2015-2016 season and yesterday my family headed down to the Tempe Center for the Arts and enjoyed a beautiful production of Perô or the Mysteries of the Night.

This was our first visit to a Childsplay production as well as to the Tempe Center for the Arts, which by the way is a stunning piece of architecture!  After the play we spent some time walking around outside enjoying the beautiful weather and the scenery.

The play itself is told by four very talented narrators who tell the story using music, puppets, and creative scenery. My 6 and 9 year old boys have grown up going to live theater and this one didn’t disappoint, it had them captivated and engaged for the entire performance.   The talent of the actors was incredible with their ability to sing, dance, act, play a variety of musical instruments all while using puppetry was fascinating to watch!

While not wanting to give away too much, this is a beautiful story filled with love, romance, laughter, and a little bit of heartbreak too.  The Sun and the Moon are two of the characters who help tell the story, set in a small village in Italy, of the baker, Perô and the washer woman, Colombina.

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The entire family certainly had their own favorite parts of the performance.  At the end of the show, the actors spent a few minutes answering some Q&A from the audience members.  Lastly, as we headed out of the theater, we were given some questions to talk about as a family for the ride home about the play – it was great!

This particular show has a limited engagement, playing only 2/6/16 – 2/7/17 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.  I’d highly recommend taking your family to see this – they’ll love it!

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Rachael reviews “A Year with Frog and Toad”


November 21st 2015 Childsplay Frog and Toad (6)

A Year with Frog and Toad the musical was a most enjoyable experience. Originally I had a babysitter for our twin toddlers so that my husband and I could take our 3 older children to the performance. The babysitter fell through so my husband stayed home and we offered his ticket to a friend of my oldest daughter, I know he enjoyed it because at the end of the musical he exclaimed “That was awesome!”

I appreciated the readily available seat cushions at the coat check desk to give my younger one the extra boost to see better. I do want to make a note that my youngest daughter who has sensory processing disorder was covering her ears during some of the song “Toad looks funny in a bathing suit” but none of the other songs. Not sure if the volume was actually louder or if there was a pitch difference from the other songs. To be honest it was the only song I did not care for, not in the sense of how it was written, sang, or even acted out which was all done wonderfully but in the sense that it made it seem okay to make fun of how Toad looked in a particular style of clothing. Not a very good lesson to be teaching. However this musical did teach good lessons like how to be a good friend, sometimes friends need alone time, how nice it is to get a letter in the mail, patience for our mail to get delivered by “Snail Mail”, and in general tells of a friendship that endures all seasons.

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It was enjoyable seeing the Snail going “postal” and having the glittery light up shell while impersonating Elvis. The only costumes that made it hard for my youngest to tell what they were, were the birds but the actresses/actor played out the parts with perfection so that you knew they were indeed birds. When I asked my children and their friend what their favorite scene was the response was the “Cookies” song and the Sledding scene.

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The “Cookies” song is where Frog, Toad, and other guests that stop on by cannot stop eating Toad’s freshly baked cookies. The music and fast-paced repetitive lyrics are very catchy and end with a great big mess! It is after the “Cookies” scene that starts intermission (I am guessing to give time to clean up the cookie mess).

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I would say with all the music in it my toddlers probably would have sat still for this performance so I would even recommend it for audiences that young. I am half tempted to go see it again with the younger ones. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and maybe sing-a-long to A Year with Frog and Toad.

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“A Play The Whole Family Will Enjoy!”

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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.

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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.

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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!

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