“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!

Debbie
Family Blogger

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Darcy Reviews “Sideways Stories from Wayside School”

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To describe Sideways Stories from Wayside School as “wacky” is an understatement!  There truly is no school like this school!  This play is based off Louis Sachar’s book that tells the zany tales that occur at Wayside School.  From the beginning of its construction, the school was doomed to be odd and absurd.  It was supposed to be thirty classrooms constructed side by side, but it was accidentally built as thirty stories tall.  The entire play is set in the classroom on the thirtieth floor and tells the nutty stories that occur at Wayside.

The week before the play, my girls and I read the hilarious book by Louis Sachar.  We laughed all week as we read through the book.  We went into this play in love with the characters and wondered how a theatrical production could truly pull off the insanity that occurs in the book and bring it to life to really show its absurdity!

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We knew from the moment that we set foot in the theater, we knew we were in for a treat!  The set itself was fantastic. It was like eye candy. The bright colors and backdrops beautifully matched the hilarity that would ensue in the classroom on the thirtieth floor!  The play opened with the introduction of Mrs. Gorf, the world’s meanest teacher with ridiculous rules.  Without telling too much, the opening scene was fantastic! The magic that occurred in the book was delightfully and creatively crafted on stage! Within the first five minutes, we fell in love with the characters on stage, just like we did with the book.

In the book, there are thirty students in the classroom on the thirtieth floor.  However, in the play, we meet five of them. Due to their large and crazy personalities, the other 25 from the book were not missed!  The best five students and the teachers from the book were brought to life  in the theater version.  Their costumes perfectly complimented their over the top personalities. We laughed at their oddities and felt a strange sense of compassion for their problems, but giggled at the same time!

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The play has a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes with a 15 minute intermission As per the description, it is recommended for ages 6 and up.  I fully agree with the recommendation since it can be a long time for little ones to sit still.  There is also a part of the play can be spooky to the younger crowds.  The giant eye that comes from above to represent Mrs. Zarves could be a bit too much for the under-five group. Though there is some dark parts of the play, it will not distract from its hilarity!

Prepare to laugh and expect to be wildly entertained by the students and teachers at Wayside School. You will understand that there is no such thing as an ordinary day at this school!

Darcy
Family Blogger