Seattle Children's Theatre
April 25 - June 15
Tickets online at Seattle Children's Theatre
Despite its presenting view as a show directed towards the younger crowd, The children’s Theatre’s Busytown is a dynamic and humorous production that appeals to people from every age group. This new musical, based on the work of Richard Scarry, not only tickles the imagination of the excited young ones in the audience but elicits laughs and enjoyment from the older crowd, even bringing forth nostalgic feelings from some. The show’s designers and performers employ a variety of stage craft in their pursuit of entertainment, including puppetry, audience interaction, and well built set pieces and props that bring the world to life.
The story follows the wandering mind of Huckle Cat as he wanders about his town figuring out what people do all day and looking for a way to help out and get involved. In the process he comes across many interesting jobs and meets new people. The through line comes from his interactions with Betsy Bear who is in a frenzy planning a birthday party for her grandma. With the help of Huckle Cat and the rest of the folks in Busytown, the birthday is a smashing success.
From remote controlled pickle cars to a life size loaf of rising bread, the show boasted obvious collaboration among the designers leading to a well-constructed show with effective and creative sets (Jennifer Lipton), props and costumes (Catherine Hunt). Numerous times the stage pieces were used as visuals in the telling of a story, whether building a house, baking bread or mailing a letter, and each segment never failed to pull a smile out of a transfixed child or a chuckle from an accompanying parent. The developing imagination is continually given a chance to grow and be amazed.
The talented cast of actors brought many gifts to the show including skilled puppetry. The puppet of Lowly Worm, touched by numerous actors, had the flexibility and personality to be one of the most humorous characters onstage. The humor also stems from a basis in slapstick, which the actors skillfully performed to the audience’s delight. And the performance talent doesn’t end with the actors. Mark Rabe is a constant onstage presence as he brings the musical score to the show, accompanying the fun lyrics and silly interactions.
Bring the family, bring a friend, and come see Busytown as it delights both the young imagination and the adult’s funny bone. Busytown is running April 25 – June 15, 2008.
Reviewed by: Rick Skyler