Stepping into the Puppet Co. Theater in Glen Echo park is like stepping back in time – to a time and place that is rapidly disappearing. While new activities for children often try to wow them with technology and special effects, The Puppet Co. Theatre stays true to a time-honored way of entertainment that has stood the test of time for generations.
The latest production showing at The Puppet Co. Theater is itself a classic story, The Tales of Beatrix Potter. All of the tales are told in the setting of a life-sized dollhouse. You should know that Potter’s most famous character, Peter Rabbit, is not in this production. However, there are three lovely stories told over the course of the show, “Two Bad Mice,” “Jeremy Fisher,” and “Jemima Puddle-Duck.”
First up are two mischievous mice, Tom Thumb and Hunka Munka, who create havoc in a little girl’s nursery by making a huge mess, much to the delight of my son and other children in the audience, who found them hilarious. Next is the take of a frog who is an avid fisherman who goes fishing in the rain and gets into some trouble, who kept my children mesmerized. Finally, the duck Jemima gets a little too adventurous when looking for a place to lay her eggs far from the farm, where she winds up encountering a fox.
My three year old was delighted with the show and was upset when the third tale ended, asking when the next one was going to start. My son doesn’t usually have a very long attention span, so the fact that he was able to pay attention for a 45 minute show and wasn’t ready to leave when it was over proves how well executed this show is.
The tales are impressively performed by a single puppeteer, who not only narrates the story but seamlessly plays the roles of the multiple puppets in the show. I’m sure children won’t appreciate the effort it takes to pull this off, but as an adult I found the puppeteer’s ability to use multiple forms of puppets, use different voices, and narrate the show single-handedly very impressive!
My older kids, ages 10 and 7, also tagged along for the show and enjoyed it. They had both been to several Puppet Co. Theatre shows as younger children and one of the most wonderful parts of attending this show with them was hearing their memories of shows they had seen as very young children. It was wonderful to hear that they had such fond memories of the time they spent there.
Although it may sound a little cheesy, going to shows at the Puppet Co. Theatre really is an opportunity to create memories and bond with your children. These shows also help get young children used to being in the theatre, setting the stage for them to feel comfortable seeing plays and enjoying other types of cultural events as they get older. You will never regret taking them.
Tips for Your Visit
- The Tales of Beatrix Potter runs through February 11th with shows on Fridays at 11:00 a.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
- Tickets are $12. Everyone 2 and older needs a ticket. You can purchase tickets online.
- Seating is first-come first served with the front of the theatre reserved for children only.
- No strollers are allowed in the theatre, but there is stroller parking just outside.
- The show runs about 45 minutes.
- If your child can’t sit through the show, the performance is broadcast live to a monitor in the lobby so you can keep watching.
- There is free parking in the Glen Echo parking lot, but it can take about 10 minutes to walk from the lot to the theatre with kids so be sure to leave enough time!
- When going to Glen Echo for the show, be sure to spend some time in the park’s fun playground or stop by the branch of Praline in the park for a treat. The carousel is closed for the season.
Photos courtesy of Christopher Piper.