|Sam Deutsch as the puppeteer. photo by Joe Mazza|
This is a re-staging of a production done in 2008, with Blair Thomas (the creator and director) performing the show. This time he's passed the baton to a young but very accomplished puppeteer Sam Deutsch who does Thomas's work justice. His movements and animation are wonderful, and border at times on the lyrical.
The score is created and provided by celebrated local musician Michael Smith. On guitar and mandolin, Smith provides all of the vocal and music of the show, as well a bit of a running commentary about the happenings of the show. Smith's lyrics and voice have a bit of Woody Guthrie running through them-- simple catchy folk songs with wry comments and sly little jokes. He's got a lot of charm, and it shows through.
The puppets are beautiful, (designed by Jesse Mooney-Bullock), a combination of hand puppets, marionettes, and the giant himself is a large mask perfectly proportioned. There's a couple of magical moments of puppet wizardry, and lots of moments of beauty. I especially liked the performer engaging with kids in the audience to help plant the flowers in the garden. It was simple but quite well done.
This is a show that kids of all ages will really like. There's not a lot of action to it-- the show is a wonderful mood piece, with a contemplative and lyrical feeling, but it's entirely engaging. The hour flew by, and my 6 year old was enthralled, and after the performance he wanted to get up and talk to the performer and touch the puppets (and he's seen a lot of shows, and doesn't always have that interest.)
To find out more about the show and to purchase tickets online, please visit the Chicago Children's Theatre website. or call the box office 872-222-9555.
The show will run through Feb 22 at the Ruth Page Center for Arts,
1016 North Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Tickets range from $10-$38.
PLEASE NOTE: Promotional tickets were provided to the reviewer. The free-ness of the tickets is not affecting my critical judgement of the show.