Dallas — 'Twas the night before Christmas, and five teeny tiny stockings are hung by the chimney with care, as Malcolm and Millicent Mouse are "making a Merry Christmas" for their three children, Mikey, Maude and Mazie. There's an abundance of Christmas spirit in Not a Creature Was Stirring, a heart-warming glimpse into Christmas Eve with the Mouse family written by B. Wolf and presented by the Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts in the Studio Theater at Dallas Children's Theater.
No sooner than Malcolm and Millicent get their three over-excited children into bed to wait for Santa, there is a knock at the door. It's a telegram announcing the impending arrival of Malcolm's church mouse brother, Melvin. Before the Mouse couple can twitch a whisker, Melvin himself arrives with a bit of a bah-humbug attitude and some disturbing news. But no time for that now. Malcolm has gnawed a new hole in the wall for easier access to the "big living room" in the farmhouse that holds their cozy miniature mouse home, and it's time to scurry out for a Christmas tree to surprise the kids. A cutting from the living room tree makes a perfect mouse-sized tree, but a second trip is necessary to get more decorations. The second trek to the tree proves to be even more of an adventure as some Christmas magic with the toys under the tree concludes with a giant-sized surprise.
There's plenty of action in this adorable, delightful holiday tale. Sally Fiorello's scenic design of the mouse-high view of the farmhouse Christmas tree is clever and amazing, and the cameo appearance of Douglass Burks' long-john-clad bottom half as Farmer Henry is hilarious. The second matinee on Sunday during the show's opening weekend was packed, and the children were enthralled and engaged.
In addition to Farmer Henry, Burks voices Malcolm and Melvin. Fiorello lends her lovely, lilting voice to Millicent as well as squeaky Mikey. They are joined by Kathy Burks as Martha, B. Wolf as Maude and Trish Long as Mazie. Becky Burks Keenan, Jeffrey Stanfield and Luke Saroni join Fiorello, Wolf and Douglass Burks as the unseen puppeteers making the magic happen with rod puppets as the mice and marionettes as the toys under the tree. It might be hard to imagine puppets being expressive, but these little creatures are. They also are meticulously costumed down to the fuzzy slippers on Melvin and the pocket watch fob on Malcolm by Trish Long and Audrey Lambinus.
This charming visit with the Mouse family and its message about family and what matters most is a welcome respite from the frenzy that accompanies the holidays. Dallas Children's Theater recommends Not a Creature Was Stirring for children ages 4 and older.