Click, Clack, Moo
nytheatre.com review by Rohana Elias-Reyes
July 24, 2009
Click, Clack, Moo, Theatreworks' 2009 free summer offering for children directed by John Rando, is an udderly charming song, dance, and pun-filled hour. Most of the kids in the audience the day I saw the show were too young to get the puns, but the adults enjoyed the jokes, and everyone enjoyed the polished production: clever costumes, bright and simple lighting and sets, energetic choreography, lively songs, and the cast's broad characterizations.
Based on Doreen Cronin's Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Billy Aronson's book substitutes a laptop for the typewriter and adds a tween granddaughter for Farmer Brown, but retains the book's basic plot: Farmer Brown's cows type letters informing him it's too cold in the barn and they would like some blankets. He refuses to give them any, so they go on strike. After some negotiations with the farmer, with the duck serving as messenger, and some quid pro quo from the chickens, it all works out.
In this ensemble piece each actor is given, and takes advantage of, a moment to shine. DeMond B. Nason's "Get Down"number as the Duck, was a particular crowd pleaser, as were the Chicken versus Cow fights, and Kristy Cates's fantastic voice stands out as Maddie, the instigator cow. Although the book and direction steer the characters toward cliche, and the actors do milk it, the eggs-ecution is egg-cellent. Did I mention the constant barnyard puns?
The show is fun and it is free, but there is a catch. Theatreworks is giving away 20,000 tickets to Click, Clack, Moo this summer, but the vast majority are distributed to summer camps. Fewer than 25% are made available to individuals, and these cannot be reserved. That means standing in line 60 to 90 minutes before show time with your hot, sweaty kids in tow and no guarantee you'll get in. Your best bet is to plan for the Thursday 6:00 p.m. or Sunday 2:00 p.m. performances; camps don't receive tickets for these times. You might also consider teaming up with some friends or a fellow parent who can take the kids to the playground at Bleecker and Bank Street (five-and-a-half blocks away), while you wait in line. Take care to time it right, because the ticket distribution starts one hour before curtain and each adult is allowed a maximum of four tickets.
Click, Clack, Moo did sometimes feel a bit formulaic, but Theaterworks has been producing and touring family friendly theater for nearly 50 years and the formula works. My kids loved the show. My four-year-old sat and watched the entire 60 minutes, with only the occasional sotto voce question, "mommy why can the cows talk now?"and then a few minutes later "but they are really humans, right?"My six-year-old brightly told me that the show was about compromise, which we practiced at the bakery on the corner shortly thereafter. If you can figure out a way to corral your children during the wait for tickets, Click, Clack, Moo will definitely quack them up once they get inside—and that's no bull.