When it’s this hot out, there’s certainly no place like (an air-conditioned) home…or an air-conditioned theater. So, while you’re sweating through the dog days of August, I’d urge you to put on your sparkly red shoes, pack up the older kids and head indoors for the Puppet Co’s rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”. This delightful, hilarious and campy production runs a succinct 55 minutes long and is guaranteed to entertain kids Kindergarten on up. We took a lovely reprieve from the oppressive heat last Sunday and headed to the show. I took only my eldest and two of her friends came along. My daughter hasn’t yet seen the movie and I think at 5.5 she’s a bit young for the book but we’d discussed the plot and the characters in advance and she was geared up, particularly excited to see Toto.
The actors in the production use a combination of puppet styles throughout the performance, ranging from tabletop puppets, Dorothy is a marionette, to masks and costumes (for the lion) and moving-mouth puppets. Hands down, the adult favorite in the room was the way the munchkins were portrayed, which was hilariously executed by adult faces popping up from underneath the stage, wearing small costumes around their chests. Honestly, we couldn’t get enough of it and the exuberance of the actors on this opening weekend was palpable.
The children are guided through Dorothy’s epic tale of trying to return to Kansas with the help of the same 4 actors taking on various roles and costumes. For the timid out there, the cast and crew did a good job of using music and one scary puppet to portray the Wicked Witch of the West. Her character is on stage for a brief period of time and one of my daughter’s friends, who is open about not liking to be scared, was happy to just sit close to her mom as Dorothy out-witted the evil witch.
Though the life lessons and morals woven throughout Frank Baum’s classic were most likely lost on the younger ones in the audience, including my daughter, any older kids in the audience are likely to appreciate the themes of good conquering evil, finding comfort in home and friends and appreciating the wisdom, heart and courage we already have. The younger ones will delight in the puppets, the colors, the well written script and if they are anything like my daughter, the cute small stuffed dog playing Toto.
The Puppet Co. never disappoints and every detail was considered, down to the theater staff dressed like women from the 1900s attending the Kansas State Fair. I particularly loved that attention to detail. The show runs Thursdays through Sundays until September 4. Tickets are $10 for adults and children. And if you’re on the hunt for indoor activities for the younger ones among us, don’t forget the Puppet Co. has “Tiny Tots” select Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10am, recommended for kids ages 0-4. Tickets are $5 each. Look for “Tales of Beatrix Potter” beginning September 16 through October 9.
Disclosure: I was given tickets to the Puppet Co. to see The Wizard of Oz but my review is my opinion.