The Puppet Co. Playhouse presents Tales of Beatrix Potter, a trio of classic stories by Beatrix Potter, performed by Applause Unlimited’s Christopher Hudert.
The Puppet Co. is nestled inside of Glen Echo Park, a wonderful attraction within walking distance of sights such as the Clara Barton Museum and the beautiful Minnehaha Creek. With pottery and ballet classes, ice cream stands and a giant carousel blaring carnival music, Glen Echo Park is a great destination for families, offering interests for both adults and children. The Puppet Co.’s atmosphere is especially child-friendly, choosing broad, colorful rugs for families to casually sprawl across instead of formal seating.
The set, designed by Terry Snyder (who also boasts the title of puppet master and director!) sits on a raised platform. It shows the interior of a sweet, old-fashioned baby-blue nursery, detailed with toys, curtains, and an impressive dollhouse. Later on, as each story is told, the set is shown to cleverly hide cutouts and props that belong to each individual tale, like a life-sized pop-up book. Lighting Design by Dan Brooks is well done, including two functional lamps built into the nursery walls, and Christpher Hudert is mic’d, so he is heard loudly and clearly above the chattering of small children.
Hudert performs three of Beatrix’s stories: The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. We start with a married mouse couple named Tom Thumb and Hunka Munka, who have a wonderful time destroying a doll named Lucinda’s dollhouse while she is out on a walk with her mistress. Seeing Lucinda’s sadness when she returns, they feel remorseful, and clean up their mess. Jeremy Fisher is a frog that loves to fish – but runs into some trouble on a particular outing. His story is told through a catchy, narrative song. Lastly, we meet Jemima Puddle-Duck, a farm duck that travels into the woods to make a nest for her eggs, and meets a charming, but mistrustful, fox.
Alas, if you are looking for the signature rabbit that Potter is famous for, you will not find it at this production. However, the characters presented are worth seeing, and the children are having a wonderful time, gasping, clapping, and squealing in all the appropriate places. Hudert stands outside of the exit immediately after the show, greeting children and their parents as they leave while holding, in this case, a friendly Jemima Puddle-Duck.
While this is a show specifically for children, adults will enjoy the impressive puppetry, as I myself did. Engaging, entertaining, and just long enough to hold a rambunctious child’s attention, I highly recommend Tales of Beatrix Potter for a fun family outing.
Running time: 45 minutes.
Running time: 45 minutes