BWW Reviews: The Arvada Center brings Childish Glee and Delight in LYLE THE CROCODILE!
The Arvada Center presents the children's theater production of LYLE THE CROCODILE (adapted for the stage by Kevin Kling with music by Richard Gray) playing now through May 23rd. The play is based on Lyle, Lyle Crocodile and The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber. When Lyle the big green crocodile, turns up in the Primm family's bathtub nobody knows quite what to do. Lyle's singing and dancing soon wins them over, and the Primms invite him to stay. Their neighbor, Mr. Grumps, and his equally grumpy cat are not happy and manage to get Lyle locked up in the zoo! Don't miss what happens next in this delightful musical tale. Oh twisted yarn - what a sweater we weave!
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this fun-filled children's show and found myself laughing throughout from the adult humor and vaudevillian slapstick sprinkled throughout the production. This talented cast made each of the characters over the top and memorable and the musical numbers were simply marvelous and full of energy. If I had a couple of wishes they would be a little more interaction with the kids, and get more of a vocal response from them (within reason) like a cheer or clap. getting more of a response from them. I would have also liked to have seen some running in the aisles, especially during the department store sale that would have been fun and drawn the kids in more. With that said, I can understand safety issues with that and the unpredictability of kids. One more note - I was confused by the decision to have Lyle and Joshua come out after the show to say hi to the kids but not be allowed to sign autographs or take pictures (due to copyright). I would suggest having big head cardboard cutouts and a standup Lyle for the kids to have fun with and take as many pictures as they like. This would also add to the social media element because I am sure that this new generation is the most tech savvy of us all. The biggest compliment I can give this awesome show is that I noticed that kids and adults were having a grand time, so job very well done!
Director Billie McBride really had fun with this show and it was apparent in her casting of outstanding and diverse talent; her sensible and fluid blocking; and the high energetic and entertaining performance. I also have to compliment the technical team on their childish whimsy. I loved the creative set that was a painted street front and creative prop car that gave the illusion of a childs art class and was totally relatable to the younger audience. I also adored the colorful costumes and especially Lyle's innovative outfit and gloves, and Ms. Nitpickers bloomers just made me giggle. The lighting was also bright and special effects were a nice touch! The choreography was also fabulous and full of energetic vigor. One more special shout out needs to be mentioned for the inventive and lifelike quality of Mr. Grumps cat!
This cast worked so well together to make this a hit with the kids! Michael Bouchard carried the plot and was completely relatable to the kids as the charming Hector. Sarah Grover wore the pants in this show as the young Joshua and she brought so much boyish charm to her character. This show belonged to Parker Redford as Lyle and his star quality truly showed through in his expressive and diverse non-verbals; and his awesome tapping number was one of the highlights of the show! Daniel Langhoff was hilarious as Mr. Grumps and I enjoyed his puppet play with his treasured cat. Boni McIntyre was fabulous as Miss Nitpicker and I loved her oh so funny musical number. Emma C. Martin and Brian Murray were adorable as Mr. and Mrs. Primm and I also smiled at their dynamic kid alter personas. Finally Andrew Russell and Melissa Swift-Sawyer were the jack and janes of many trades and brought humor and delight to every minor role.
This show was absolutely delightful and had me giggling along with the kids in audience the entire time! LYLE THE CROCODILE is recommended for all ages, so bring the whole family and enjoy! The Arvada Center presents the children's theater production Lyle the Crocodile now through May 23rd. Performances are 10:00 a.m. and noon, most Tuesdays through Fridays, and some Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. For performance dates, to purchase tickets and for more information call 720-898-7200 or check out the Arvada Center online at www.arvadacenter.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: P. Switzer Photography 2104
PICTURED ABOVE: Parker Redford as Lyle
The cast of Lyle the Crocodile