Adrian Churchill in <em>The Tale of Peter Rabbit</em>

Review: The Tale of Peter Rabbit | Dallas Childrens Theater | Rosewood Center for Family Arts

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Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts delights with Tale of Peter Rabbit at Dallas Children's Theater.

published Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Photo: Craig Lynch
Adrian Churchill in The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Dallas — Just in time for Easter, Cottontail is hopping down the bunny trail to Dallas Children's Theater along with her sisters, Flopsy and Mopsy, and their brother, Peter in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

This musical adaptation of the beloved Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit blends puppets from Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts with one human actor. Instead of performing in their usual spot in DCT's more intimate studio theater, the puppets take over the much larger Baker Theater stage, which has been transformed into a lush, detailed garden set under an enormous tree that also shelters a rabbit burrow. The tree is layered and lit to give it realistic depth, and rows and rows of vegetables create a stage for singing and dancing veggies and misbehaving rabbits.

It's a big day for the Rabbit Family. Mother Rabbit has announced that since the children have shown themselves to be obedient, she is going to market on her own, leaving them home to play by themselves for the first time. With explicit instructions to stay away from Mr. McGregor's garden, Mother makes her point by telling the young bunnies the truth about how their father ended up in a pie by going into that garden. That's enough of a warning for the girls, but Peter ... well.

B. Wolf adapted the story for the puppetry stage, adding 17 original songs and instrumentals to move the story along. The Kathy Burks puppeteers use four types of puppets to tell the tale: marionettes, black theater rod puppets, and hand and body puppets. Peter comes in three versions. He's a stringed marionette when playing in the wooded area with his sisters, a rod puppet in the rabbit burrow and a hand puppet when he's (spoiler alert) in Mr. McGregor's garden. There is no other word for any of these puppets—animal and vegetable—except adorable. The rabbits are voiced by Becky Burks Keenan as Peter, Deborah Brown as Mother Rabbit, Sally Fiorello as Flopsy, Lisa Schreiner as Mopsy, and Patricia Long as Cottontail.

Adrian Churchill plays a loveable Mr. McGregor, who likes to add a little cha-cha to his gardening duties when he's not chasing Peter. Things get a little tense between them when Peter gets lost and can't find the garden gate. And Mrs. Mouse is hilarious, but absolutely no help.

DCT suggests that children 4 and younger will enjoy the show. At Sunday evening's performance, children and adults were equally mesmerized by what was happening on stage.

Don't miss this chance to see live action, masterful puppetry and amazing theater design combine into pure theater magic. Hurry to DCT—quick! Like a bunny! Thanks For Reading

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Hippity Hop
Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts delights with Tale of Peter Rabbit at Dallas Children's Theater.
by Cathy O'Neal

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