As with A Year With Frog and Toad, I was not familiar with the book before the day of our play outing, but fortunately, my much-more-well-read editor’s family loaned me their copy of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales in the nick of time. Reading it as a family over dinner and on the way to the play was definitely a help. I heard a woman behind me comment several times that she hadn’t read the book before, and she had no idea what to expect. But at the end of the day, I don’t think it changed the ultimate outcome for both of us…she just was pleasantly surprised that it was hysterical, and I knew major laughter was coming when it started.
The evening got off to a rocky start as Cow Patty Boy, who surprised visitors before and during the play with sudden shouts of “COW PATTY!!” picked my 5 year-old as an unwitting victim. He was not amused. However he was immensely pleased to see it happen to others both on stage and off the rest of the night, so all was not lost between Will and Cow Patty Boy.
As we settled into our seats at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre (formerly the Empire Theatre), we had fun playing I Spy with the set, which was a feast for the eyes. A giant foot served as front wheels for a stagecoach of sorts, and everything from apple pies to hubcaps and tricycles were tucked into the set. Jack the Narrator led us through the nine tales, all silly and satirical takes on the classics. From Chicken Licken, to The Really Ugly Duckling to Little Red Running Shorts, the cast of 7 took on character after character and kept the crowd of adults and children alike in stitches for most of the one hour production (a perfect length for a 3-1/2 year-old’s first play, by the way). My 5 year-old even remembered one of the actors from A Year With Frog and Toad, which pleased me to no end to know that he was 1.) paying close enough attention to notice, and 2.) remembered the play from last fall to that extent – the beauty of good acting and up-close and personal experiences in these wonderful Richmond venues.
Much like a really good comedy movie (I know, few and far between), I think I would need to see it a few times before I caught all of the jokes, and that would be OK with me. This play is right up my alley – sarcastic, clever, well-acted, and as entertaining for me as it was for my kids. Playing through March 18th, it’s a must-see for all. And did I mention that RFM readers get ½ off kids’ tickets with code RICHMONDFAM online? What are you waiting for?!