Puppet Co.’s ‘Halloween Spooktacular’ is spooky-but-not-too-scary household enjoyable


There’s one thing a couple of puppet present that makes you’re feeling like a baby once more in one of the best ways potential. You might be proper there with them, and your expertise and pleasure are necessary to the present’s success. Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular, presently taking part in at The Puppet Co. in Glen Echo, Maryland, in its second annual rendition, is a superb instance of this. Puppet Co.’s primary rule is “Have enjoyable!” and there are a lot of the reason why one would have enjoyable watching this manufacturing. With puppets and set designed by Liz Dapo, a script by Dapo and Kirk Bixby, and route additionally by Bixby, the present is completely aimed toward younger audiences and adults fascinated by puppetry alike.

Scene from ‘Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular.’ Picture by Liz Dapo.

Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular is a mix of a telethon and selection present with musical numbers, during which the viewers votes on the winner. A distinct winner is chosen among the many puppets at every efficiency. Documentary-style testimonials from the contestants are projected on a display all through the stage manufacturing, previous to their real-life acts. There are a lot of humorous moments that may make youngsters snicker, together with bodily comedy and puns, plus moments of levity that adults will admire (notably the assorted jokes about sponsorships, like an marketed werewolf spray that goes awry for Witch Wartsmith).

Arm rod puppets Witch Wartsmith (puppeteered and voiced by Kristina Hopkins) and lovable stage supervisor Benji the Bat (puppeteered and voiced by Danny Pushkin) are participating hosts to observe all through the present. They keep on the identical web page because the viewers and train calls and responses, spending as a lot time because it takes to make sure youngsters are absolutely invested.

Benji is a specific delight, because the right-hand puppet of the Puppet Co.’s home supervisor in the course of the pre-show speech, creating an setting the place the puppets are simply as in cost because the viewers. His floppy ears often twitch, including an lovely sense of character as he anxiously tries to verify the present goes as deliberate regardless of shenanigans. One puppet is a zombie that’s working unfastened (performed on the efficiency I noticed by understudy Cesar Orellana), which audiences are inspired to assist Witch Wartsmith and Benji discover.

The contestants, performed by the entire ensemble (Mollie Greenberg, Kristina Hopkins, Momo Nakamura, Danny Pushkin, and understudies Liz Dapo and Cesar Orellana) are an exquisite introduction to the world of puppetry. Among the greatest moments concerned full ensemble puppet choreography by Kirk Bixby. Whether or not the puppets are popping out and in of home windows adorned with puppet-looking skeletons, or arising and down, there’s a spirit behind it that makes you watch each second with consideration as they transfer on the proper beats. The songs in these moments (lyrics and music by Bixby and Jon McLeod) encourage engagement and provides “Muppets” vibes of their playfulness. The closing quantity “1-2-3, Poof!” has viewers members yelling out “POOF!” proper with the characters.

Full-body marionette puppets held up by strings embody Greyson the Mastiff, the Dancing Phalanges, and the Nice Boodini. Greyson does a juggling act on a one wheeled-bike, throwing balls up within the air and really narrowly catching them to the viewers’s delight. The ghosts glide like jellyfish, bouncing at sure moments and sliding with a sublime grace at others, dancing by the air as a pair with out ever colliding. And the Nice Boodini, whose costume consists of a shiny cape, conjures up magic onstage with a sensible sense of combating resistance in opposition to his magic as objects emerge. Hand-held puppets Boris and Vince (designed by Ingrid Crepeau) assist Witch Wartsmith as hype puppets in asserting acts.

All of those puppets are participating, however the most effective acts are those with a component of shock, revealing one thing that you simply weren’t anticipating. The penultimate act, Harold the Scarecrow, is one among them. His stage fright is so nice that it takes him three completely different tries to carry out his act. However when he goes on, it’s a star flip that turns all preconceived notions of the scarecrow inside out. The Jackie O’s (a jack o’lantern woman group) start as mere pumpkins and are revealed to be bunraku-like puppets who do a show-stopping dance routine to a pumpkin-related parody of “Poisonous” by Britney Spears.

Scene from ‘Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular.’ Picture by Liz Dapo.

The present’s design components lend it a creepy but foolish vibe. Inexperienced lights encompass the stage throughout the stage that the puppets carry out on, and a highlight on the zombie humorously highlights one second the place he pops out from a window on a wall off the stage. Playfully designed stained glass home windows, wooden, and tombstones match the scenic design with the universe of the puppets. Further music and sound selections, akin to music behind testimonials and a pre-show Halloween playlist, add to the splendidly chaotic setting.

As a Mainstage Legacy Collection manufacturing, Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular is a present that may hopefully be a mainstay at Puppet Co for years to come back. If you would like a candy present to see this Halloween season, and one thing spooky-but-not-too-scary for your loved ones to get pleasure from collectively, that is the present to see. Right here’s to many extra years of this annual manufacturing, and to extra winners like this throughout.

Working Time: Roughly 45 minutes with no intermission.

Really helpful for ages 4+.

Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular performs by October 31, 2022, (Thursdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.) at The Puppet Co., 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, Maryland. There might be a sensory-friendly efficiency on October 16 at 11:30 a.m., an ASL-interpreted efficiency on October 23 at 11:30 a.m., and a particular Halloween efficiency at 7 p.m. on October 31.* For tickets ($15 per particular person, beneath age 2 no ticket required), go on-line.

​​COVID Security: All these over the age of two are required to masks inside always.
*In any respect particular occasion performances, all patrons over the age of 5 want to point out proof of vaccination for admission. For extra info, see FAQs right here.


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