BWW Review: GOODNIGHT MOON Won't Put You To Sleep
Let's say you are a six year old and you have trouble falling asleep. Let's say your imagination runs away with you. Let's say animals can talk, crawl out of paintings on the wall, and sing and dance. These are the components for The Rose Theater's current production, GOODNIGHT MOON, the tale of a young boy (actually, he may be a bunny) who goes on an hour-long romp through the world of make-believe.
Chad Henry adapted the 1947 classic children's book "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd for the stage. He added several musical numbers and lots of tomfoolery, turning this soothing "lull your child to sleep" tale into the child's attempts to escape sleep.
Susann Suprenant directs a versatile half dozen actors in this "pandemonium" performance that includes a cow attempting to jump over the moon, tooth fairy that rocks a vaudeville number, and bears dragging their chairs out of the painting and into a game of musical chairs.
Playing the lead as the Boy/Bunny is Nick Knipe who fidgets and hops around the stage in fine bunny manner. He is advised by Old Lady Wendy Eaton to hush, but bunnies cannot be restrained by words. He wants action! He wants to run! But as Eaton tells him, it matters not what he becomes or where he tries to run, he will never get away from her.
Knipe's stage pal, a mouse played by Jessica Burrill-Logue, convinces us that she is more than up to Bunny's quest for fun. Burrill-Logue exudes energy.
Ty Hebbert as the Tooth Fairy is splashy and over the top in his sequin tux and fairy wings.
The cow, brought to life by Kimberlee Stone and Matthew Pyle, draws the first laugh from the audience of kindergarteners. They thoroughly enjoyed Cow's sad attempts at jumping over the moon.
Bill Van Deest's set design will delight fans of the book...it's as if the book just jumped up and spread itself around the stage. The stage is one great green room, with lighting that accentuates nearly all of the numbers. In the star number I felt the lighting should at least highlight Bunny and Mouse. They were nearly indistinguishable from the set. But the lighting is true to the story where things become gradually more subdued and quiet as Bunny starts to succumb to sleep.
Mics may have needed tweeking, at least in the case of Eaton. Her voice came across very softly in contrast with the others. This may have been intentional, though, as her Old Lady character is trying to hush Bunny.
Bears with Chairs will make the kids giggle if they have ever played the game musical chairs. If not, they will still enjoy the nonsense.
Against the backdrop of the great green room, Sherri Geerdes' brightly colored costumes, the animated animal characters, and Sue Gillespie Booton's choreography will capture the imagination of young children. And parents can take a stroll down memory lane as GOODNIGHT MOON may be the book they remember best from their own bedtime adventures.
Photo credit: MJB Photography