Jan 15, 2011

Orchard Lake Mall - Playhouse Theatre

About a month ago I saw an ad for the Playhouse Theatre in the Metro Parent Magazine.  I decided I wanted to check it out, but they only have a show about once a month.  While working on the calendar, I looked up the website and there wasn't any info about upcoming shows:(  But I did check them out on Facebook and they had posted that they were having a show today.  Luckily, I was able to go and check it out.

We arrived about five minutes late for the show.  All the seats were filled, but there was space to sit on the floor.  Rosa and I sat down to watch Chris Clark.  He's a magician/ventriloquist/juggler/puppeteer who has been featured on The Late Night Show, Rachel Ray and a few other shows.  When we arrived, he was doing his magic part of the program.  Chris did quite a few magic tricks.  They were all very entertaining for the children.  He drew a face on a white board, then the eyes started to move and then its mouth started moving and it sang "Happy Birthday".  He did a few tricks with a rope, cutting it and putting it back together again as well as a few scarf tricks.  Sitting on the side was a little bit of a bummer, because I saw some of the secrets:(  And I figured a few others ones out, but it was very entertaining nonetheless.  I really liked how he invited the children up to help and many children got a chance to stand up and wave their wands.

Chris did a ventriloquist bit with a bunny who gave a few of the girls a "hare cut".  How funny.  The sound effects were cool, but he wasn't so great of a ventriloquist.  A couple of the children were scared of both the noises and the bunny, who was very scary looking.  He made some cutting noises and chainsaw noises, and most of the children, including his volunteers, were laughing and enjoying the act.

The puppet theater was based on the old classic "Punch and Judy" theme.  Chris did a wonderful job with this section.  The children were really involved in calling for Judy and telling Punch to look out.  It had a slapstick comedy feel to it.  The only issues I had with the show were the outdated roles of the mother and father that were displayed.  For instance, Judy goes shopping and leaves the baby with Punch, who sings to the baby and makes him cry.  Judy comes back and admonishes Punch, and fires him.  There were a few very entertaining scenes, like when Punch is chasing a flower, or when the feather duster is annoying him.

The show continued with Chris doing a juggling act, however the act was disrupted by an Orchard Lake Mall employee who brought out balloons.  Chris was saying, "the show isn't over yet, please stay seated."  I could only laugh and feel bad as about one fourth of the children got up and ran to get a balloon.  Chris continued his performance, juggling.  He juggled three, four and five balls, ring and pins.  All while children and adults were walking across the stage area.  One child even walked right up to him and he had to stop.  The balloon guy continued to hand out balloons and the chaos continued through the juggling.  And to make matters even better, children were now sitting on the floor, in front of everyone with balloons.  People behind them couldn't see.

Chris continued with more magic tricks and finished the show with the "Hokey Pokey" and the "Macarena".  By that time, Rosa had had enough and we were making our way out of the show area.  We got a balloon for her and I decided we would wander around the mall and maybe find something to eat.

Holy cow this mall is small.  I think they have maybe 15 or 20 stores.  There was a huge grocery store and drug store at one end, a small toy store with boutique prices, a couple of boutiques with normal prices for a boutique.  Food options are extremely limited, you can have Chinese, Panera Bread or Zoe's (a Pancake House).  We walked around the mall, which took maybe 10 minutes and we left.

I do look forward to going again, but wish that they would have a little bit more advertising for dates and times so I can plan the trip a little more in advance.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: