I may not be a kid, but I loved Lyric Arts’ “Mainly for Kids” production of Beauty and the Beast so I had a feeling I’d enjoy Bunnicula as well. I also had the pleasure of interviewing puppeteer Gabriel Gomez for RedCurrent which made me even more excited to check out the show.
Harold (Sarah Frazier) starts the show by introducing himself and shaking paws with some audience members, and he’s your typical happy-go-lucky mutt. We soon meet Chester (Brianna Regan), a pompous tabby cat who reads Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe. Frazier and Regan make a great team and exhibit just the right amount of animal versus people qualities thanks to the direction of Michael Bruckmueller.
The Monroe family is pretty straightforward: dad, mom and two daughters. I especially love that they all wear tacky wigs – it’s a silly show so I appreciate that Lyric Arts decided not to take themselves too seriously on this one. It just makes for a better kids’ show after all, right? Jason Stone and Bailey J Hess play Mr. and Mrs. Monroe like animatronic Stepford parents which I found completely hilarious and entertaining. Valerie Heideman and Lydia Ter Harr play daughters Ruby and Pat. They’re your typical sisters who get along one minute and argue the next especially due to Pat’s surly teenager attitude.
Ruby finds a baby bunny when they go to the movies to see Dracula… hence Bunnicula. Tara Martinsen runs puppetry for Bunnicula, and Gomez has done a great job making the three to four foot tall puppet look like it’s hopping when it moves. Also, Martinsen gives it just the right head movements to make it feel like Bunnicula is engaged in the show. The especially fun part? Bunnicula has retractable fangs and his eyes glow red each time he escapes from his cage to suck the juice from the vegetables to make them turn white.
Chester sets out to solve the mystery and convinces Harold to go along for the ride, leading to plenty of crazy antics that elicits lots of laughs.
What I love about theater for children is observing how into it the kids get. I overheard plenty of questions being asked and could see others reposition themselves so they could have a better view. The show is one act and approximately 80 minutes long which seems just about right for a “Mainly for Kids” production. There are also some fun musical numbers to enjoy, my favorite of which is “Pet in the House.” Because every house is better with a pet.
Bunnicula is entertaining and adorable, and Lyric Arts brings this children’s story to life with the right amount of silliness that both kids and adults can enjoy it. The show through May 9 at Lyric Arts and is recommended for ages 6 and older. Tickets cost $10-18 and can be purchased online. Discount tickets may be available on Goldstar. Check out the trailer below!