‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ at Applause Unlimited/The Puppet Co

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This Fall, The Puppet Company proudly hosts Applause Unlimited’s Christopher Hudert and his production of The Velveteen Rabbit, adapted by Terry Snyder from the book by Margery Williams. Mr. Snyder, who originally developed this show and served as its director, passed in early September of this year, and this production serves as a beautiful homage to his memory.

Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

The overall set-up and puppets for this show (designed by Snyder) are pleasantly simple, which is fitting for the tender story that they tell. The puppeteer stage has subtle built-in sceneries that are displayed with the changing seasons. Performer and puppeteer Christopher Hudert is a comforting and steady figure– his gentle demeanor  reminded me quite strongly of the late and great Mr.(Fred) Rogers. Hudert is also interactive with the young audience, asking them questions and encouraging discussion.

Using beautifully-crafted hand-puppets, Hudert tells the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, a classic tale of friendship and change. After a young boy receives a stuffed rabbit made of velveteen for Christmas, the simply-crafted rabbit is teased by his fellow toys in the nursery, such as a flashy Jack-in-the-Box and Timothy the Jointed Lion, an expensive and impressive toy. The shy rabbit is troubled by the teasing until he is befriended by the Skinhorse, the oldest and shabbiest toy in the nursery. The Skinhorse teaches the Velveteen Rabbit that flashiness isn’t important in the eyes of a child’s love.

Performer and Puppeteer Christopher Hudert and his furry hoppin' good friend. Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Performer and Puppeteer Christopher Hudert and his furry hoppin’ good friend. Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

And the Velveteen Rabbit is loved, indeed– so loved that as the seasons go by, his fur rubs away and he becomes patched and frayed. This doesn’t matter to the boy, who takes his favorite rabbit with him on all sorts of adventures…until an unfortunate turn of events leaves the stuffed rabbit in some serious danger. In his time of need, what this stuffed bunny needs now is some magic.

I loved Applause Unlimited ‘s production of The Velveteen Rabbit. It was simple and sweet, clocking in at only 40 minutes. With an extremely reasonable ticket price, it’s a better family day to welcome the Fall season by visiting the park for a day (picnics! playgrounds! carousel!) and taking in this nice little show while you’re there! The kids and adults will love it.

Running Time: 40 minutes, without an intermission.

The Velveteen Rabbit plays through October 18 2015 at The Puppet Co. in  Glen Echo Park – 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call (301) 634-5380, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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