GIGGLE, GIGGLE, QUACKAdapted by James E. Grote
Music and Lyrics by George Howe
Based on the book by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Dallas Children's Theater
Directed by Doug Miller
Musical Direction by Adam C. Wright
Producer/Tour Director - Sally Fiorello
Set Design - Randel Wright
Lighting Design - Linda Blas?
Costume Design - Laurie Land
Properties Design - Jen Spillane
Sound Design - Marco Salinas
Reviewed Performance: 5/7/2011
Reviewed by Mary L. Clark, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
After the crazy adventures in the first play, Farmer Brown has had enough and needs a vacation. Deciding on Tahiti, he has his Brother Bob "farm sit", leaving specific daily instructions on the care of those mischievous animals. A dropped pencil, a clever duck, and lots of ingenuity and creativity from each of the animals and you have the makings of another fun-filled, wacky adventure.
Doug Miller, who directed and choreographed both the tour and the main stage production, has kept this production simple and precise, just as the original storybook is. Necessary to keep a production easy to set up in different venues
on tour, he adds no extraneous elements but allows the characters to lead ? in this case, it's the animals.
All Dallas Children's Theater's wonderful designers are on board. Randel Wright's cartoon-style farmhouse kitchen and barn interior are as tilted as the animal's antics. Some of the sound effects by Marco Salinas made the children around me giggle. Lighting by Linda Blas? and larger than life props by Jen Spillane add to the merriment but it is the animal costumes designed by Laurie Land that fairly steal the show. I have never seen such stylish barnyard critters. The three-tiered Sunday Best dress, complete with eared hat, is perfect for Pig and her bubble bath "suit" is so inventive. Hen is all feathered boas and petticoats. Cow looks almost English Mod in tailored shorts suit with leather high top shoes for hooves. Then there is Duck, decked out in "tails", silk vest and spats ? what an elegant quacker!
Giggle, Giggle, Quack plot line is helped along by some musical theatre style show tunes and, under the musical direction of Adam C. Wright, each actor/animal has their moment. Duck's "Golden Pencil" tells of all the endless possibilities for imagination and that's the "point" (sorry, couldn't help myself!). Hen's "Pizza Baby" is a bluesy (or is that "moo-sey") number and "Pretty Little Pig" hints of Sondheim and Jerry Herman's Mame. I also love the jazzy rendition of "Old McDonald" during intermission.
All five actors are endearing and engaging in their roles. As written, there are no lead roles and this ensemble works together magically. Alan Pollard has played the dual role of Farmer Brown and Brother Bob before and it is obvious he thoroughly enjoys it, playing them big and broad. The four other actors each choose their unique animal sounds and nuances to fully round out their characters. Kelly Kennedy's Cow is all sassy and bossy and not very cooperative while Molly Welch, as Hen, is all a flutter with fear and doubt but could certainly "beak" back (now it's getting rather silly!) when necessary. Patrick Pevehouse is tall and towers over the others. He's also lanky, perfect for Duck's long, orange legs. Also the play's narrator, Carleen Constance Kirksey guides the audience through each day's adventure and, as Pig, is the play's balance, all warm, soft and inviting.
Giggle, Giggle, Quack is, in my opinion, best suited for younger children, say between early childhood through 2nd grade or so. Themes of cooperation, creativity and the joys of innocent mischief run through the show. It is a simple tale told with great fun, tons of energy, toe-tapping songs and lots of heart. On second thought, we adults can certainly use a little cooperation, creativity and joyful mischief in our lives too. Forget what I said ? round up your kids, the neighborhood kids and their parents and head for Dallas Children's Theater and Giggle, Giggle, Quack. You just might find yourself doing the "giggle, giggle, quack conga-line dance on the way out the door!
Dallas Children's Theater
Rosewood Center for Family Arts, 5938 Skillman Street, Dallas 75231
Runs through May 22nd
Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 1:30 pm with Saturday, May 21st
at 1:30 and 4:30 pm and Sundays at 1:30 and 4:30 pm.
Ticket Prices are from $14 - $25 with discounts for students and seniors. Please
call 214.740.0051 for information and tickets
or go to www.dct.org.