This weekend I braced myself and took the kids downtown to see puppets teach us about dinosaurs. It wouldn’t be fair to say I was dreading it, but I wasn’t as excited as I often am about shows. So I bribed myself with meeting some of our favorite people there and planning lunch afterwards. That’s allowed, right?
So, the Starlings. NWCT got a grant to study puppetry and develop a “flock” of bird puppets. They have now starred in 3 shows- Sleeping Beauty (we didn’t see that one), Amelia Earhart, and now Dinosaurs. The two Starlings shows we have seen were written by NWCT with original songs and choreography. They focus on teaching kids about a topic in fun and creative ways.
One thing I do love about the Starlings shows is the level of interaction with the audience. They bring the puppets (in character) into the lobby before the show and interact with the kids. They also go into the seating area before the show and take pictures with kids, talk to kids, and generally wreak havoc. And I will say that all of that is really fun. It creates a high energy, fun atmosphere and gets the kids ready to go. The kids love getting to touch the puppets and talk to the birds as if they were real. Nugget, of course, had to take another path. He told one that it wasn’t a real bird because it was too colorful and birds are black. Clearly we need to go somewhere tropical! He recognized a puppeteer as the person who had played his favorite pirate, and spent quite a bit of time calling him Smee and trying to get the person to admit he wasn’t really a bird.
The show itself is fast moving, creative, silly, and educational. A couple of the songs are pretty catchy. And there are tap dancing t-rexes, so there’s that. The show teaches how dinosaurs are named and then gives the audience a chance to name their own dinosaurs. They even come into the audience and let some kiddos announce their dinosaur names. My littles eat that stuff up. The Starlings shows tend to target a younger audience, and the 75 minute run time is just about right for the age range that tends to go.
The good: it’s a short, fun, fast paced, interactive, colorful show
The not great: the shows always seem a bit chaotic to me. But I think it’s a reflection of the inner workings of the little kid brain- which is who they are trying to entertain
Do we recommend it? They are not my favorite shows and I find them a bit overwhelming. But Chicken and Nugget cannot get enough and the kids in the audience seem enthralled as well. And since it is a children’s theater, I would say they hit their mark.
Tickets can be found at: https://nwcts.org/