Monday, October 10, 2011

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

This weekend we headed to watch Emerald City Theater's production 'If You Give a Cat a Cupcake'. Based on the book by Laura Numeroff; adapted and directed by Ernie Nolan; the play runs at Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln through Jan 7, 2012.

I had checked out the book from the library a few weeks back. We had already read 'If You Give a Mouse  a Cookie' by the same author and enjoyed it thoroughly. After having read the book, the kids were mighty excited to follow the cat on his adventures. They had some experience with theater before when we had watched 'Dot and Ziggy' the past summer but the experience of seeing a book they have read in action was a first. And even though V doesn't show much enthusiasm if we propose a place which doesn't involve rides or things beginning with the letter 'i' (read iPads, iPods, iMacs and the likes), I could tell that he was looking forward to it.

The first sight of the set on the stage itself was very lively and colorful and multi functional as we later realized to transform it into various locations in the play. The play was about a girl who returns unexpectedly from a play date only to find her dad alone at home, knee deep in work, who asks her to play by herself for a while and promises her to join her soon. Wondering what to do with her time, she comes face to face with her pet cat who is suddenly able to talk, sing, dance and above all ask for favors like a cupcake and sprinkles to go with it. What follows is high energy drama, one funny situation after another and adventures of the Girl (Leah Raidt) and the Cat (Joe Goldammer) around the city. Along the way, they meet the the third and the last actor of the play Kyle Rehder who plays various characters like the dad, the funky Sensei, dog Rufus and others extremely effectively with fun costumes and impressive accents.

Fast paced, high energy and utter fun, it amused the children and their parents alike. We absolutely L-O-V-E-D the excitement the enthusiastic Cat brought into the play. He kept the kids intrigued as he reached from one end of the hall to the other in a matter of seconds. The girl repeated the words from the book, ad verbatim but from memory, as the story unfolded. The friendship between the girl and her cat, even though, slightly forced to begin with when the girl insists that the cat is her pet and not her friend builds gradually and teaches key life lessons of asking your friends' opinions, respect, being thankful and sorry as needed. The audience was involved rather amusingly to carry forward the show. Puppetry, sounds and lighting is effectively used all in all to result in an utterly delightful play. In the end, all the kids were asked to join the cast on stage for a macarena style dance while singing the key words from the play/book. Outside the main hall, the cast gathered for pictures and autographs. Both my kids, being on the shy side with new people and especially with costumes, didn't make much of the opportunity at all but many others did.

I would recommend the play highly if you want to introduce your 3+ aged children to theater or if you have been on a look out for a good play to take your kids to. It does remarkably well to enthrall and delight.








Edited to add: This play is coming to Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center at Palatine, IL on Monday, Jan 16th at 10:30 am (school's off that day). Tickets are only $6 and its a great way to introduce your 3+ aged kids to theater. 

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