By Bill, Elizabeth and Christina
My family and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to go to opening night of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at the Arden! There were crafts for the kids and a kid-approved dinner buffet and tasty ice cream treat from The Franklin Fountain following the show.
Of course, the best part really was when the lights went down. Both the Boy and the Mouse became endearing to us within the first five minutes of the show. The Boy’s first move toward being an independent “big kid” and a Mouse that just won’t stop chattering became the catalyst for all the laughs that follow.
The actors’ energy was contagious and had kids sitting at the edge of their seats waiting for the next prank. The Mouse’s and Boy’s timing were absolutely perfect – a finely tuned slapstick routine reminiscent of the Three Stooges. The company’s use of stage technology in the first half held everyone’s attention – even the Mouse seemed amazed. And just when you thought that the actors couldn’t possibly keep up the pace, they come back from intermission refreshed and ready for even more hilarity.
The Arden ‘s smaller upstairs theater was a great venue for this performance; it brought the actors closer and they became more real. The set design used a perspective that made it seem very kid oriented. As adults, it’s so easy to forget that kids live in a world where everything is so much bigger than they are. Mouse reminded us that even a milk glass can be a challenge for little hands – and faces.
The staff was incredibly friendly, eliciting giggles and smiles from my very shy child. When the Arden does children’s productions, they certainly do them well. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ranks right up there with some of our other Arden favorites like A Year with Frog and Toad and Go, Dog. Go!