Childsplay’s The Cat in the Hat is Funny Fun for the Whole Family

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As luck would have it, opening day of Childsplay’s production of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat was wet and rainy, just like the setting of the book. Before the show, we read the book several times as a family. After all, Dr. Suess’s Cat has said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.”Our preparation just added to the show’s fun, as live theatre always has room for surprises and interpretation makes space for some hilarious antics.


 
We arrived early try the 360° Experience. My boys had fun with the cute photo booth and the poetry wall, where we could create our own poetry with the 236 words Dr. Suess used write The Cat in the Hat. We played and took in the view from the venue until the chime called us to our seats. 
 

The play opens with Boy, Sally and the Fish, gloomily sitting in the house. All three are stuck, wishing to be out and perhaps even unsure of what to do without the mother there to entertain them. It was just the picture of the book’s first page—the house, the boy and girl in window, the bird in the tree, and the drenching rain. Then the gloom was broken when the drenched bird had a fit of sneezes that started my boys laughing.

 

 
Soon, a “BUMP!” ushers in the Cat in the Hat, himself. Their inert world—the bicycle, the racquet, the balls, and even their pet fish—are set in motion.  With a push from the Cat, Boy and Sally join in some imaginative and increasingly wild play that the mother most certainly would mind…but she is out of the house for the day. So, without ever leaving the house, they play ball, perform with pretend instruments in a loud musical trio, and then the Cat uses Boy’s bicycle to boldly perform tricks.
 
At this point, my 4-year-old leaned over and whispered, “What is The Fish going to say?” The Fish is a voice of reason, warning the children that this kind of playtime could end badly. But the children (and ourselves in audience) are captivated by the Cat.
 
One of our favorite parts is when the Cat’s daring balancing act ends in a crash and everything falls in slow motion. My boys laughed and cringed as they watched the clever, weaving motion of objects and actors.  Near the end of the scene, I found myself leaned over sideways; I had been so absorbed in the action, I had moved as if to dodge falling objects. After the show, my boys’ first wondering words were about how that slow motion was done. It was so expert, they thought it was movie magic.
 

Childsplay’s talented company—behind the scenes and on stage—accomplished a faithful adaptation that our whole family enjoyed. We laughed out loud for much of the show’s 45 minute run and could only wish for the entertainment to continue. Before we were buckled into our car for the ride home, my youngest asked when we can see the play, again. This eagerness to return is high praise coming from him, and I think it is deserved.

 

The shows are at Tempe Center for the Arts Studio and run weekends through February 19th.
Times are Saturdays 1 and 4 pm and Sundays 1 pm
Tickets range from $12 to $25.


Jodee is a full-time mom to three playful boys. She was raised in the desert, educated in the Rocky Mountains, and the lived in Midwest before returning to the “dry heat.” She is passionate about learning, culture, and nature. When she isn’t shuttling her boys from school to activities, she is either planning out their next family adventure or playing Duolingo to avoid folding laundry. She dreams of visiting all of the National Parks with her family and to finding the cure for homework battles. You can peek into her life and family outings on Instagram @thatsmoxie.

 

My family was generously provided tickets in return for a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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