by Sherry V. Crawley
As the house lights dimmed for the beginning of “Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat,” I must admit that I had my doubts. Bringing any book to the stage that relies so heavily on rhythm, timing and rhyme could be tricky, I thought.
But in less than 60 seconds, I was no longer a skeptic. The incredibly talented cast and crew at the Center for Puppetry Arts fully honors this sacred childhood text, giving it the care and charm it requires – and more.
The dialogue, sets and characters faithfully follow the popular Seuss book. Yet there are many surprises in this show, thanks to a mixture of puppet styles, engaging music and perfectly timed movements and transitions.
As Sally and her brother sit sadly by the window, the anticipation begins to build. My 4-year-old son squealed when that famous red and white hat first peeked in the door. Then came his favorite part – and a collective gasp of delight spread throughout the audience as bubbles filled the theater.
You know the story. Next, the Cat in the Hat starts to stack all sorts of household trappings onto his head. Tea cups! Books! A fish in a bowl! I have no idea how the performers manage to pull off the gravity-defying tricks of the mischievous visitor.
What then? Why Thing One and Thing Two of course! These silly friends tumble out of their box with style and proceed to swirl and twirl, fly and purr. They dangle from kites over our heads, tumble in slow motion and create one epic and delightful mess.
And then! The fish announces Mother’s return, and everyone panics – except that Cat in the Hat. He goes right to work and in no time at all, the house is spic and span.
My favorite part was the end – the dramatic delivery of those famous last lines:
Should we tell her about it?
Now, what SHOULD we do?
What would YOU do
If your mother asked YOU?
This enchanting performance is truly a gift. If you have never been to the Center for Puppetry Arts before, then this is the time to go. The ticket price is worth it for the nostalgia fix alone and your kids will love it too!
Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat
The Center for Puppetry Arts; 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta; 404-873-3391;puppet.org
When: Through July 28, show times vary daily.
Cost: $16.50 ages 2 and older; tickets include museum admission as well as the Create-A-Puppet Workshop
(or To-Go Kit), where kids can make their own “Cat in the Hat” shadow puppet.