Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review of Chicago Children's Theatre's Goodnight Moon: The Musical!

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called Goodnight Moon: The Musical!  It was really awesome because there were these cool dance numbers that were all about different things that were in the room--for example, bears in chairs pop out of the painting in a little hole and the cow jumping over the moon.  It is great for all ages.  Everybody is going to like it because it is so funny.

When the show started Alex Goodrich came out as the Bunny when he was a grownup, and then he saw the book which was Goodnight Moon, and it was the book that his mom and dad read to him when he was a little boy.  It kind of made the grown-ups in the audience remember when they were littler and they were read this book.  It kind of made the kids see what it was going to be like when they were grown ups: that if they were sad, then they would remember happy things that happened when they were younger.

Then the curtain comes up and everybody was really excited about how much the stage looked like the actual great green room.  I think Jacqueline and Richard Penrod were really good at making the set design because it looked exactly like the great green room.  And the pictures looked like the real ones in the book. The balloon looked like the actual balloon in the picture.  But it didn't just hang there; it moved around!  It tried to scare the little old lady whispering hush (Sarah Sevigny). The pictures actually moved around like puppets.  It wasn't exactly like the book, because how can they move around in the book?  It made the play more exciting.  There are three options about how the house is moving and doing crazy stuff.  One: the Bunny is asleep and dreaming.  Two: he is having visions.  Three: he is imagining it.  I hope that he actually goes to sleep because then the old lady, if he wasn't asleep, is being kind of mean because she is just leaving him alone in the room.   I think she should stay in the room with him until he goes to sleep because then he won't worry about her and he won't get into mischief. 

You might fall asleep without knowing about it, but you are still actually asleep; that is what happens in real life when you go to sleep then you dream about waking up and all these weird things happen which aren't actually happening, and then you wake up and you actually waked up.  Once I had a dream where I woke up, and then my mom was pushing a shopping cart inside the house filled with peppers and water.  That is very weird.  Then I actually woke up from the dream, and I thought it was a dream again, but it wasn't because nothing weird happened.  

I thought the part with Claribel the Cow (Sara Sevigny) jumping over the moon was cool because when she actually jumped over the moon she actually jumped over a drum that looked like a moon.  And I thought that was really fun and cool. I really liked the puppets and how one was a dish who was a boy and one was a girl who was a spoon.  The person who was playing those characters was The Dog (Becky Poole).  I liked how the dish and the spoon talked and they sang along with the theme song all the time: "Hey diddle diddle, hey diddle diddle, a-diddly dee." They sounded very different from the dog's voice.  She can do lots of different voices of different things and different people and stuff like that; I think that is a good ability to have because then you can play lots of different kinds of characters as an actor.  Becky also played the Mouse.  The Mouse is the Bunny's best friend.  The Mouse is almost four years old and she thinks lots of things are hilarious when they really are.  She seems like a real friend.  She had a tiny little voice that sounded like a three-year-old talking and she was always making up new things to do.

Aaron Holland did a good job playing the part of the imaginary friend.  I thought it was a really good idea to have an imaginary friend because lots of younger kids have imaginary friends who do crazy stuff.  He did like weird stuff like messed up the bed and ran around in circles in the middle of the night.  I think he was having fun.  When he was the Fire, the Fire and the Bunny kept saying something which was really funny: "Fire Joke!"  They kept saying "Fire Joke!" whenever they did a fire joke.  For example, when Claribel the Cow left, the Bunny said "That cow was sure hot, " and then they were like "Fire Joke!" And then they laugh hysterically.

The Old Lady (Sara Sevigny) I think was really well cast.  She doesn't look like a little old lady, but she is very good at pretending to be one.  She wants the best for her little Bunny.  She wants him to have a great experience tomorrow, when he has to go to school, and she doesn't want him to get bad grades because he is so tired. I have seen Sara in Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch as Mrs. Weed and I thought she did a very good job in that.  And she also did a very good job in this.  She is always excited and it seems like it is her first day every day that she does the play.  She seems really happy to see everybody at the show because she knows everybody is going to like it.

I thought Alex Goodrich was just hilarious.  For example, when all the things in his room are moving, he is like, "huh?" He always reacts to everything in a way that people actually would feel like if this actual really crazy thing happened to them.  And that feeling feels hilarious.  In all his plays that I've seen, he has always been a fuh-larious character because he is such a funny person. He just makes himself funny by being really expressive with all his body parts.  Like his face makes funny faces; his arms move around with handsaws and stuff.  (A handsaw is like when you put your hand in the air and wave; that is called a hand-sawing motion.  It is like you are like sawing a tree in the air. I got that term from Backroom Shakespeare, and Backroom Shakespeare got that term from Hamlet.)  People can be funny by not being expressive, and people can be funny by being expressive.  I would call what Alex does "expressive comedy." 

The stage, the actors, and the props make this a very good adaptation. They added a bunch of stuff because the book is only one-minute long, and you can't have a one-minute play. Because if something is only one-minute long, what is the point of watching it?  It was a good idea to add all the songs (by Chad Henry) because they weren't just flibber-flabber: they actually had to do something with the book.  The main song is "Goodnight Moon," and it is saying goodnight to everything in the room, just like the actual book. The other songs, they have to do with the paintings that come to life.  I think those songs really have to do with the book because they are kind of like the same things as are in the book.  A song or a picture can tell you stories, either way.

People that like music, animals, and puppets would like this show.  I think this show should be for ages two and up.  I think younger kids would like it because lots of the things in the show happen to younger kids--like not being able to go to sleep.  It is always funny and cute, and there is nothing boring. 

Photos: Michael Brosilow

1 comment:

patrick ryan said...

What a wonderful review. This young lady will be a brilliant play write.Thank you for the professional review.