I have a kid who’s very interested in the performing arts, and spent a week this summer immersing himself in magic, puppetry, comedy, theatre and set design at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Puppetry was of particular interest to Julian, so when I saw the Madcap Puppets on the schedule for Rumpelstiltskin: A Puppet Musical at Summit Park, I knew we had to go!
Madcap Puppets is not your typical puppet theatre. This troupe is known for its comedic spins on classic fairytales, as well as their own original performances (I actually have a friend of a friend who wrote one of their recent shows!). They tour up to six ensembles at a time, performing at schools, museums, parks and libraries.
The puppets are the “hand in mouth” variety, meaning your kids can generally see the actor behind the creatures. This makes for a silly and absurd kind of show that’s anything but scary. (Even the largest puppets are made accessible with their big movements, colorful design and wacky expressions.) These shows are more about the interaction between puppet and puppeteer, and the diversity and beauty of the performing arts as a whole.
Puppets aside, it’s really the actors that make a Madcap Puppet show so delightful. These actors are hilarious and witty, swapping puns with each other and fourth-wall breaking asides with the audience. My 4 year old, who I wasn’t sure would enjoy Rumpelstiltskin, was literally laughing out loud the entire time. The actors brought the puppets to life and made this show fun and easy to enjoy.
Sadly, Rumpelstiltskin has finished touring, but there are some fun shows on the schedule: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz starts an eight-month run in September and A Madcap Christmas Carol tours in November and December. Follow Madcap Puppets on Facebook for information on upcoming shows!