Get ready for a toe-tapping, knee-slapping, belly-laughing experience. If you plan on seeing “Brer Rabbit and Friends” at the Center for Puppetry Arts, here’s a warning: You may enjoy it more than your kids – if that’s possible. From the opening “Cock-a-doodle-do!” to the audience belting out, “Let my little soul shine!” during the sing-a-long finale, this show is packed full of stories, songs, and silliness.
Even though it was a magnificent, sunny spring day outside in the heart of Atlanta, our world was quickly transformed into a folksy country scene. Upon entering the theater, we gazed upon what seemed to be fireflies, the shadows of tree trunks, and a rock wall garnished with flowers and vines. When the first character on stage asked if he could play his trumpet, so began a fun adventure between storytellers and audience.
The charismatic piano player, who invited us to listen in as the cousins started spinning yarns, looked like she was having as much fun telling the stories as we were having while listening to them. She narrated six snippets, all involving Brer Rabbit and five of his friends. Whether it was discovering who had the loudest laugh or why bears have stubby tails, each story was a gift tied up with whoops!, woo-hoos!, and some “gosh-a-nickel-mickle-pickles!”
My husband and I agreed our favorite part was watching our boys laugh, which they did often and in a big way. I laughed out loud several times at the witty one-liners, like when sassy Sister Mud Turtle snipped, “Don’t touch my shell!” or Brer Fox complained, “Don’t be so conservative, Rachael Ray!” Our 5-year-old loved the skit in which Sister Mud Turtle outsmarts Brer Bear into thinking she is stronger than he, and another scene in which Brer Rabbit makes Brer Fox do crazy things on his death bed. Our 3 ½-year-old concurred: “I loved everything when Brer Fox was in the bed!”
The show started five minutes late, lasted exactly 55 minutes, and ended with a three-minute overview of where the Brer Rabbit stories originated and the different types of puppets used in the show. We learned how Sister Mud Turtle swam to the bottom of the pond and how the man playing Brer Bear transformed into his “fuzzy wuzziness” counterpart. This family-friendly treat is not to be missed. As the narrator promised at the start of the show, you’re “gonna have a whole passel of fun!”
– Kat Sabo
“Brer Rabbit and Friends”
Center for Puppetry Arts,
1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta.
When: Through May 26; Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.; Sat., noon & 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 3 p.m.
Cost: Ages 2 and older, $16.50