The Puppet Co.’s latest production, Peter and the Wolf, is only running for two more weekends at the playhouse in Glen Echo, which means you better get your tickets soon. Because, in a nutshell, it’s one terrific show.
The one-man, multi-marionette show is not just an engaging and entertaining theatre experience, it’s also an impressive demonstration of the art of puppetry. We get to see the classic story played out on the stage, while watching puppet master Christopher Piper manipulate and voice every character and even parts of the set. And he does this all without missing a beat. I can barely keep voices straight while reading books to my kids, and he does it without a hitch through a 45-minute-long performance while executing the characters’ every movements.
And lest you think this would distract audience members from the show itself, I can assure it doesn’t. Rather, it’s quite interesting to watch, especially for adults. It seemed the children in the audience were so absorbed by the story, particularly the silly parts that elicited plenty of giggles, they didn’t even take their eyes off the puppet stage.
As for story, The Puppet Co. sticks very close to the original, except for a few changes that actually make it less scary for kids (spoiler alert: the duck doesn’t get eaten by the wolf). Piper also throws in some grown-up humor as he voices the duck’s conscience, then makes an aside to the audience about it. And he nailed the cat behavior, making him rub up against trees and wink in that funny way cats do.
These are just a few of many details that contribute to the show’s all-ages appeal that seems to be a signature of The Puppet Co.’s productions. Six-year-old Owen and I caught the performance with my friend and her two boys, ages 2 and 5, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. And judging by the laughter and applause of the audience, I think plenty of others did, too.
Peter and the Wolf is running at The Puppet Co. Playhouse through February 19. Performances take place on Fridays at 10am and 11:30am, and Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 1pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Peter and the Wolf from The Puppet Co. Playhouse, but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.