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Theater Review: Spot’s Adventures a hit with the 2-7 year olds!

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The adorable new (world premiere) musical following the Adventures with Spot at Seattle Children’s Theatre is perfectly crafted for the tinier audience members. Created by Don Darryl Rivera and Rob Burgess (who recently created last year’s wonderful Harold and the Purple Crayon musical) with contribution by artistic director Linda Hartzell, the script hews closely to the easy reader series by Eric Hill.

Don Darryl Rivera and Jennifer Sue Johnson in "Adventures with Spot" (photo Chris Bennion)

Spot’s mother looks for him in the closet and under the stairs (one of the books does exactly that, as children can open a flap and see that Spot is not there), Spot goes with his grandparents to ride in bumper cars, he gets his kite caught in a tree, and helps make a birthday cake for his father. Don Darryl Rivera is in a familiar element as the curious Spot. Rivera played Harold and has starred as a mouse and other favorite book characters at SCT in numerous roles.

Rivera is joined by other veterans of SCT plays. Hugh Hastings plays multiple roles, including Spot’s father, Sam, a monkey, and the grandfather. Greg McCormick Allen plays a crocodile (hey! he played a crocodile in Lyle the Crocodile!) and tap dances up a storm. Jayne Muirhead plays Spot’s mother with easy motherly charm. Jennifer Sue Johnson plays Spot’s friend Helen, and the grandmother, and a mouse.

Costumes by Deb Trout are versatile (they have to change costumes multiple times!) and colorful, appealing to the little ones’ eyes. Curiously, though, none of the dog characters have even a tiny tail…. Jennifer Lupton’s very spare set allows for multiple locations and lots of hiding spaces behind wall openings for sliding out pianos and dropping down carousels of leaves for a windy kite day. Music is simple and played by David Duvall on piano, suitable for a simple show.

The best part, besides lively songs, is the magic tricks that make the little ones sit up with mouths in little oh shapes. The most fun include producing a fish inside a pan that was empty a moment before, and pouring milk into a newspaper that crumples drily immediately after.

The production lasts until April 28th and you can get tickets at http://www.sct.org/Tickets/Buy/Production/10462.