The crème de la crème of Dallas musical comedy actors churn up big laughs in Dallas Children's Theater's latest, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. And the grins aren't just for the little gigglers in the audience. Jokes about Orwell's Animal Farm ("two legs bad, four legs good!"), and musical riffs on the cheesy song stylings of Sondheim and Les Miz make this a show worth seeing with or without young 'uns.
Underneath those cow-print muumuus (should that be moo-moos?) are Cara Statham Serber and Deborah Brown as the bovine beauties fomenting revolution in Farmer Brown's barn. No milk until they get electric blankets for the chilly nights, they demand. It's anarchy in the dairy section.
Joining the moo-vement is Maxey Whitehead as Hen, wearing a costume by designer Laurie Land that's a gorgeous feathery confection—sort of Christian Lacroix meets Dr. Seuss. Brian Hathaway fills the bill as Duck, the narrator who quacks up the good Farmer (Willy Welch) by giving the mutinous cows and chicken an old typewriter on which they type their memos—hunt and peck method. (Egad, it's hard to stop once you start with the farm animal puns.)
Director Doug Miller makes sure the production works on two levels. The kids get the silly spectacle of cows hoofing it in the song-and-dance numbers (there I go again). And the rest of us can laugh knowingly at the spoofy fun of watching professional actors portraying critters who've gone Norma Rae on their human boss.
Almost forgot to mention the trio of "chorus gulls."
Clever, kicky choreography by Miller keeps the 85-minute show running smooth as butter. Randel Wright's scenery is, as always at DCT, a storybook fantasy made large. The barn opens to reveal Hen's enormous nest. Barn and farmhouse magically slide away for a lovely song by Duck as he "swims" on his lonely blue pond. The illusion really gooses the visual impact.
Click, Clack clicks. Worth shelling out good scratch for? Eggs-actly.
I'll stop now.