I’m no theatre critic. When I took my three young sons to see The Velveteen Rabbit at the Children’s Theatre at ImaginOn last weekend, my impressions of the show were going to be based on little more than whether or not they would sit through it. Smarties, you know. If you can just relax and catch your breath, it’s a win.
So based solely on that, I’m giving The Velveteen Rabbit two thumbs up! Take your children to see it!!
My three sons, ages 5 and 4-year-old twins, kept the squirming to a minimum, stayed too busy soaking in a live performance to create any disturbances, and never once asked if they could leave because something was too scary! (Attempting to take one of my then 3-year-olds to a Spiderman movie was a classic mom fail.)
It just goes to show you, when a story sticks around for 100 years – The Velveteen Rabbit, which is about a boy’s relationship with his favorite stuffed Christmas toy, will reach triple digits in 2022 – audiences connect to it, and ours certainly did…. even a crowd used to fast-action cartoons which flash from one scene to the next with dizzying speed.
The pace of the play couldn’t possibly compete with that, but it did, I notice, keep moving along nicely. If the story line got a little slow, there was a dry ice smoke effect to take in or cool “stars” to behold. All the while the actors themselves turned the sets from one scene to the next so the curtain never had to budge.
The hour-long production included a total of three actors, which made it easy for young viewers to get comfortable with them, and those three actors did a flawless job. The dialogue was clear and understandable, which was no small thing either. If you think about it, kids in some ways are the toughest audience there is.
So what about my little New York Times reviewers?
When I asked them afterward what they thought, I got a chorus of “good.” When I tried to dig for a little more insight, my oldest said, “It was a little bit sad.” Yes, in moments it was. There were themes Paw Patrol wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. And that’s a good thing, in my book.
My favorite feedback was something one of my boys said in the middle of the play, when my 4-year-old Johnny declared: “That’s not a real fairy!” Smiles.
Beyond that, our post-play discussion centered mostly around a plot twist that we won’t mention here – I’m not a critic or a spoiler! But speaking as loudly as any words we exchanged was a drawing my oldest presented to me after “quiet time” that afternoon. When I saw his rabbit drawing and his attempt to sound out the letters of The Velveteen Rabbit, I knew this classic story has resonated with him too.
The Velveteen Rabbit is running for two more weekends, Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 18-19 with family-friendly matinee start times. We took the Lynx train which lets you off like 10 steps from the McColl Family Theatre, making logistics not only easy but fun. As a bonus, the Market at 7th Street is right there too – and open! – for a pre-or post-show meal.
For tickets and information about show times, click here.