The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Some gentle quiet amid the madness

<i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar</i> takes on a strawberry

The Very Hungry Caterpillar takes on a strawberry

In between the excesses of last week's Out There performance at the Walker Art Center and the sugar-influenced madness of Cartooon at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, I stopped over at the Children's Theatre Company for something gentler, but still absolutely entertaining and beguiling.

Brought to us by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, The Very Hungry Caterpillar presented a trio of Eric Carle stories brought to life through clever puppetry and vibrant, black-light-aided scenery.

[jump] Along with the title story, the less-than-an-hour show featured The Little Cloud and The Mixed-Up Chameleon. Carle's stories are simple, but contain not just good messages that everyone should listen to (use your imagination; be comfortable in your own skin) they also provide a solid platform for some delightful puppetry.

Two artists, Jonny Thompson and Mara Zigler, are responsible in bringing the creatures to life on the stage, but they are aided by the work of director Jim Morrow, composer Steven Naylor, and narrator Gordon Pinsent. Together, they build the world for each story.

In The Little Cloud, our character decides to move away from the other clouds for an afternoon of play, imitating all sorts of creatures and things before coming back home. The Mixed-Up Chameleon has the title character taking his transformation skills to new levels, as he tries on bits and pieces of the animals and people he sees at a visit to the zoo.

Finally, we have our Caterpillar, who eats his way through a veritable fruit bowl before transforming into a gorgeous butterfly. The effects here are simple but effective, as all of the characters come to life through the subtlest movement by the puppeteers. 


The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favorites
Through Feb. 23
Children's Theatre Company

2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis

For tickets and more information, call 612.874.0400 or visit online.