BWW Review: ANIMAL AMIGOS! STORIES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE at Mesner Puppet Theater

BWW Review: ANIMAL AMIGOS! STORIES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE at Mesner Puppet Theater

Mesner Puppet Theater's "Animal Amigos!" a delight to audiences of all ages. Perfect show for the kids, but adults will find the stories enjoyable, as well. From writers Mike Horner, and Erika Baker comes a collection of stories retelling Mexican folktales. This show reminded me of my excitement as a child in watching the magic of puppetry and the vivid stories that enchanted many a young imaginative mind.

The show revolves around happenings in and near the "Tree of Life" as one after another colorful character tell their tales. There is a hilarious rabbit who repeatedly tricks a not so wily coyote. In another segment a beautiful bird takes great risks to save his friends from a winter without food. His losses rebound as he learns the true value of life. There is a little one half chicken, Medio Polito, who learns to overcome the adversity of having only one leg, one wing, one eye, and only half a beak. Medio learns that he is really more capable than others would have thought. Each of the stories is like a favorite fable with important life lessons learned through thoughtful action. This particular group of stories bring a south of the border flavor that is brilliantly colorful, tremendously fun, and un poco picante!BWW Review: ANIMAL AMIGOS! STORIES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE at Mesner Puppet Theater

While the puppets are the stars of the show, their stories are brought to life with the help of a couple of human stars: Vanessa Severo, and Erika Baker. Severo plays host to the troupe and does so by drawing the crown in from the first line of the script. Like a female version of Mr. Rogers, Severo is like a familiar neighbor who greets you with a beautifully animated story to tell. The young audience members were on the edge of their seats (several hopped up to get a chair closer to the action) and their attention held as if spellbound by a wise sage.

BWW Review: ANIMAL AMIGOS! STORIES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE at Mesner Puppet TheaterErika Baker. who doubles as co-writer and puppeteer in this production, proves to be equally good at both. Her acting and sound effects bring the characters to life both in words and actions. Teamed with Severo they are a dynamo of energetic personalities, crafty storytellers, and an endearing theatrical duo. Even the very youngest children attending (who, by the way have perfectly sized premium seating) were completely focused the entire hour of the production. Watching these two work seemed so effortless that there simply had to be a few backstage elves helping them out.

The production team behind this show includes: Stage Manager - Rita Sobbing, Lighting - Kris Kirkwood, Music - Brad Cox, Kevin MacLeod, Puppet & Set construction - Mike Horner, Erika Baker Annie Kalahurka, Zachery Garner, Kyle Well, Susan Sorensen, Willow Hardman, Austin Lionberger, and Tab Treml.

I highly encourage taking children to this production. The stories are messages rich in love and friendship and would be perfect for engaging children in discussions of a positive nature. The big take away from this show are the endless smiles of the children attend.

The show "Animal Amigos! Stories from the Tree of Life" is showing at the Mesner Puppet Theater October 17 - November 4, 2018. The theater is at 1006 E Linwood Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64109. You can call the theater if you have any questions at 816-756-3500

BWW Review: ANIMAL AMIGOS! STORIES FROM THE TREE OF LIFE at Mesner Puppet Theater

photos courtesy of Mesner Puppet Theater

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From This Author Paul Bolton

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