When I told my four and a half year old son, Max, we were going to a play at FringeKids! he was ecstatic. This is actually his third Fringe Festival. When I told him we were going to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream…A Puppet Epic! he was over the moon. Likely more about the puppet aspect than the Shakespeare part, but hey, you never know, right!?! Okay, well, maybe you know.
Now, in the regular Fringe reviewing time for MoT this show already got a great review by a grown up, so this is going to focus mostly on what the kids thought.
A couple minutes in to the play Max leaned over to me and said “I think this is going to be cool!” And he was pretty absolute in this assertion, because in another minute or so he leaned over again and said “they’re going to be cool!”.
While the actors and puppets are ‘off-stage’ they are sometimes just in the back of the room, and we were sitting near the back. I turned and pointed to them and Paris/Demetrius (played by Scott Farley) waved enthusiastically to him. I thought Max was going to swoon. His eyes got wide with intense joy.
When the puppets made their way back down the aisle Demetrius said quietly to Max “I love her so much!” and Max just stared at him intently. As Demetrius continued down the aisle Max turned to me wide-eyed and whisper-exclaimed “he talked to me!” It was such a fantastic moment to watch.
After the piece we took him and his friend Avery to have some sushi and ask about the show.
Avery told us that she liked the play and that she had a favourite puppet, the one with the green dress and black hair. We think she may have meant Anne/Titania (played by Merritt Crows) but we weren’t positive. That was about all she had to say, but apparently on the way home she said to her mum “Mom, did we go to that play because you knew how awesome it would be before we got there?”
Max on the other hand explained at length about how there was a “cool dude” in the show, that the cool dude talked to him, that there was a lot of sleeping in the play, and that, apparently, Max now wants to be an actor.
I’m pretty sure this counts as a rave review from both kids.
Now time for the caveat; FringeKids! shows are selling out like crazy. So, try to book in advance (most likely there won’t be tickets, but it’s worth trying), but also remember that Fringe only sells 50% of their tickets in advance, the other 50% are sold at the door, starting one hour before showtime. So, you can head over and line up to buy tickets ahead of time, and then you can head over to a nearby playground, or, on Saturday you can head into the nice air conditioned library (Sunday the library is closed though)
But yes, a couple of four year old and I highly recommend this play being put on by Shakey-Shake and Friends. It’ fun for kids and adults, which is nice, because really, it’s so much better when it entertains both of you.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream…A Puppet Epic! being performed at The Palmerston Library Theatre (560 Palmerston Ave.).
Running time: 55 minutes
Thursday, July 11, 2013 – 7:00pm
Saturday, July 13, 2013 – 6:00pm
Sunday, July 14, 2013 – 1:30pm
- Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
- Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows
One thought on “Kid +1: A Midsummer Night’s Dream…A Puppet Epic! 2013 Toronto Fringe Review”
Here’s what I cut out of my review because it was just too long for a Fringe review and I really did want to focus on the kids’ thoughts:
I thought this was a really well done piece. It doesn’t talk down to the kids. I loved that it uses pieces of the original script, sure the kids might not be totally into the original text, but it was broken up enough that they didn’t seem to focus attention elsewhere. They stayed with the actors and rode through it, and I think that exposing them to it now, in a fun way, is a fantastic way to make it less intimidating in the future.
Even though there is no set to speak of, the puppets provide lots of colour and fun, and the kids were certainly drawn into the action on stage.
Generally the audience was younger than I expected, I’d say it started from about age two and up. A great thing about this show is that there are generally no big loud startling noises, which can be a bit alarming for the younger set.
Now, the two year olds wouldn’t be into the story I’m sure, but they were enjoying watching the puppets, and it’s a pretty forgiving space when kids get restless and need to head to the bathroom and maybe stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down and so on.
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