Today, my family had the opportunity to review Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical performed by our sponsor the South Carolina Children’s Theatre. We routinely completely empty the library shelf of author Mo Willems’ books, so we couldn’t wait to see one of our favorite stories come to life. We weren’t disappointed. It was the perfect outing as a family to celebrate dad on Father’s Day weekend.~Bethany Winston, owner of Kidding Around Greenville
Review tickets were provided by our sponsor the South Carolina Children’s Theatre.
We arrived at the Gunter Theatre (located at the Peace Center in downtown Greenville) just 15 minutes before performance time. Be aware if you are driving from a distance (like us) that I-85 South had several lanes closed near exit 60 due to construction. Despite dealing with traffic and being behind schedule, we still were able to easily find a parking space in the nearby parking garage of the Marriott Hotel. The Box Office line moved quickly and was efficient and we were left with plenty of time for the kids to use the restroom (before the performance), play a little in the lobby, and find our seats.
For those unfamiliar with the Gunter Theatre, it’s a small theatre where there is really not a bad seat. The elevation between rows is significant so even small children won’t have trouble seeing. Finding your seat is simple, so if you have small children that might struggle to sit still, 5 minutes is more than enough time to get seated. There were some toys in the lobby to entertain children as well.
Many families let their kids bring their special stuffed animals with them. I wish I would have thought to have done that myself. Of course, if you bring a special stuffed animal, don’t leave it there. That would be a little too much like the story of Knuffle Bunny!
It’s a story that will be all too familiar for parents. Dad (Todd A. Janssen) decides to take Trixie (Ayden Woo) with him to do the laundry at the local Laundromat. Mom (Hannah Smith) is a little worried, because after all she knows that taking care of Trixie is not always easy but Dad assures Mom that everything will be okay. Trixie and Dad head off the Laundromat with only a couple slight hiccups along the way but things go seriously wrong when Knuffle Bunny accidentally gets left behind. On the way home, Dad is perplexed by Trixie’s babble and later tantrum. Everything comes to a sweet ending when Dad saves the day, as Mom knew (or hoped) he would.
The musical was a fast-paced 45 minutes with no intermission. It was mostly music and had plenty of action. My children are 5 and 8, and both children sat at the edge of their seats laughing through the entire show. As Mo Willems fans might predict though, the kids weren’t the only ones laughing. The show was very relatable to any parent as well with it’s themes about the extreme frustration and love all mixed up that parents feel as they try to understand and parent very little ones who can’t talk.
Fathers especially will relate to Trixie’s Dad who is an engaged father who helps and loves his child but also finds dealing with a toddler to often be much more difficult than he ever imagined. Trixie’s Dad experiences the range of emotions that fathers feel from being “Super Dad” to being convinced that he is a failure while trying to move “boneless” Trixie across town, to once again being the hero by finally locating Knuffle Bunny.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical is really the perfect way to celebrate that Dad who loves his kids and tries his best to be a great dad (even when things go wrong). Buy dad a couple tickets and let him take the kids. It is the perfect dad/kid date and tickets are even a special discounted price for the 5:30 pm performance on Father’s Day!
How Young of Children Will Enjoy Knuffle Bunny?
The theatre was filled with kids even as young as 2 or 3. I did not notice any children leaving due to not being able to make it through the show. If your child can watch around 45 minutes to an hour of a movie, I personally think that they will have no trouble making it through the show. The show is fast-paced and full of music.
One of my friends was there with her 3-year-old boy, and she said that he enjoyed the show and didn’t have any trouble sitting through it.
After the performance, the cast will sign autographs in the lobby. It’s fun to stay a couple minutes and snag a photo and autograph if you have time.
The South Carolina Children’s Theatre does sell souvenirs in the lobby before and after the show. For this performance you could even buy the book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale as well as a stuffed Knuffle Bunny of your own!
We wouldn’t want to end this review without saying what a tremendous job Ayden Woo did in her performance of Trixie. It’s always amazing to see the very young local talent that comes out of the South Carolina Children’s Theatre.
About Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
“Who knew a trip to the laundromat could provide so much entertainment? Join toddler Trixie, her Dad and Knuffle Bunny as they take a musical journey that is chock full of song, comedy and gigantic dancing laundry. Based on the book by six-time Emmy award winner, Mo Willems, this show will please audiences of all ages.”
Based on the book KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE by Mo Willems
Published by Hyperion Books for Children
Script and Lyrics by Mo Willems
Music by Michael Silversher
Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI)
This performance is one hour with no intermission.
Recommended for mature 2 year-old children and older. A good rule of thumb to determine if a child is old enough for a stage performance is to consider whether or not they can sit through a similar length feature film quietly.
Performance Dates & Times
Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 10:30 am, 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm
Sunday, June 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm**
Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 10:30 am, 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm
Sunday, June 26 at 1:30 pm
**Special price of $18/person for this performance only
All other performances are $27/adult and $18/children 18 & under.
The performance will be at the Gunter Theatre at the Peace Center in downtown Greenville. Parking is available at several nearby parking garages. The Marriott Hotel parking garage is the most conveniently located to the Gunter Theatre. Event parking is typically $5 a vehicle.
Have your children ever read Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems?