Bark at the moon
Go, Dog. Go!
Simple language is deceptive in this antic adaptation of P.D. Eastman’s equally antic children’s classic about dogs that use an early-reader vocabulary to the fullest extent of the paw. Under Peter Story’s tightly-paced direction, for instance, the simple scene “Dogs Working” becomes a tribute to the Three Stooges (minus the eye poking, which will no doubt relieve concerned parents) and results in a subliminal message about following directions and cooperation.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not funny, which is something that seems to be lost on too many writers for children. With physical comedy, facial expressions and pure energy, the able cast of multicolored rambunctious canines works, plays, sleeps (sort of), drives cars, tap dances, sings, climbs trees and generally aggravates the large-and-in-charge big dog, M.C. Dog (the exceptionally gruff and funny Rick Kleber).
And while a bit of fourth-wall breaking by Yellow Dog (Jamie Jones) to open the show momentarily confused a handful of the little ones, they quickly caught on and roared with laughter as the rest of the pups unveiled her inner doggedness. It’s a delightful way to reveal stagecraft to the younger set.
Steve Decker, who designed the set, made use of construction already in place for The Little Dog Laughed (more doggy goodness from the B3 Series), transforming it into a multilevel playground that easily functions as worksite, bedroom, big tree and Ferris wheel.
But of course the real kudos must go to the cast—Connor Mickiewicz, Danielle Moné, Tara Sissom, Jenni Stephenson, Jones and Kleber, for so successfully capturing canine antics and giving the kids a treat with plenty of ruff-ruff stuff.