For children’s theater to be successful, it must have an age-appropriate theme that appeals to kids, be engaging enough to hold their interest, and have a running time that is not so long as to exceed their attention span. But for outstanding children’s programming, there is so much more that can be done in our post-modern era – and Pip’s Island does it to perfection. Created by the brother/sister team of Rami and Rania Ajami and Creative Director Walter Krudop, the interactive immersive adventure, geared to ages 4-10 (but fun for the whole family), combines the latest in art and technology with live action and educational activities that delight, transport, and engross, while also developing essential social skills in its young audiences.
From the moment they arrive at the “transporter” (and by “transporter” I mean elevator!), where their fantastic journey begins, the budding “explorers” benefit from the tasks and activities devised by the show’s writers, in consultation with childhood development experts and incorporating the latest curriculum guidelines, along with the most popular trends in current games and play. The young participants are dressed by their guides in Pip’s Island vests and LED wristbands, engage in warm-up exercises, and are given precise instructions to follow (including no cell phones or photography), in order to stay focused on the mission at hand – to help the heroes Pip, Finn, and Pebble save the island and its inhabitants from the villainous Joules Volter.
By being completely on board with the plan, the kids have already been introduced to the importance of physical activity, paying attention, and cooperating. Over the course of the hour, they will also experience the joys of problem-solving and understand the need for team-building, as they complete a series of challenges – Investigate, Activate, Build, Imagine, and Connect – with each step earning them a magical Spark that, together, will harness the power of the island and overcome the forces of evil.
The show’s top-notch design team has created unique hand-crafted rooms for every stage of the adventure, guaranteed to dazzle adults as much as the children. Among the colorful environments into which the groups pass through portals are an historic station loaded with vintage trunks and luggage, tube TVs, and a manual typewriter; a winter storm with confetti snowflakes falling and swirling all around; an old sailing ship with wooden nautical wheels that the kids must steer; a glamorous underwater chamber filled with precious pearls, shells, and glistening bubbles; and a bakery with a big fuzzy proprietor that swallowed one of the heroes, who must now be retrieved from its giant stomach.
Everything is enhanced by neon, lasers, and flashing lights, fog effects, and the sound effects of waves, the wind, music, and voice-overs, and brought to life through puppetry, animatronics, video animations, and a rotating company of nearly 50 live actors, who are skilled at playing their fictional characters, adept at ad-libbing with the audience, and sensitive to the children they’re guiding along the way. It all makes for a lot of fun and a pioneering approach to educating and entertaining kids (and the kid in all of us), while introducing them to the excellence of theater in New York. That’s a win, win, win – so go, go, go!
Running Time: Approximately one hour (arrive 15 minutes in advance).
Pip’s Island plays an open-ended run, Wednesdays-Sundays, with tickets currently on sale through August 31, 2019 – 400 West 42nd Street, NYC. For tickets, call (212) 609-1372, or purchase them online.