by Jane & Jack
Silly on Sixth performances have all the ingredients good children’s theatre should have. Audience participation is encouraged and the children are made part of the story.
The Hudson Theatre Ensemble, which brings us the Silly on Sixth Children’s series, has perfected children’s theatre—and their zany retelling of the Cinderella classic continues the tradition. I have been attending their productions for many years—all generations in attendance end up having lots of fun.
One of the favorite characters, Master Harold the Herald, speaks to the audience—literally—explaining why he has to cry out the time of day and winding his way through the crowd, helping the girls in attendance try on the lost shoe so that the Prince can find his new friend and Princess-to-be.
Children tend to believe what they see, and the actors are convincing in constructing the world of the play. The Fairy Godmothers get comically flustered at times and use the wrong wand needing a couple of tries before getting Cinderella into a proper ball gown. Tom the Talking Dog, who is Cinderella’s champion and friend, has very important things to say—and we all listened.
Children like to use their imaginations and it only takes a few stage props, some good music and clever lighting before we are in Cinderella, Prunella and Crudella’s house listening to how mean the step sisters are to Cinderella. Then seamlessly we are at the ball laughing at Lady BonBon’s antics, before being transported to the village—wondering if Cinderella will find her courage, trust in herself (as her fairy godmother told her to) and try on the shoe. Cinderella tells a great tale, and after some ups and downs everyone is able to live “happily ever after.”
After the show, it’s fun to go and meet the play’s characters in the lobby for pictures, program signing and questions. Listening to questions and answers can be interesting, since actors aren’t always separated from their characters and might have to answer from a dog, fairy godmother or princess’s perspective. With the usual respect the actors have for their young audience, the answers are thoughtful and in the appropriate voice. This time around, pictures with Cinderella and the sisters were particularly popular.
Tickets are still available for the October 31 performances (11:00 & 1:00). The November 1 shows are SOLD OUT.