It’s always a bit special to see a show at the Sydney Opera House, whether you’re an adult or a child, but my little lady was particularly excited to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. We bought tickets from the box office a month ago, and she bounced up and down in the lobby, chirping, “Yay! Can we go today??”
The day came at last, and when we walked into the lobby to see the Eric Carle drawings on display, she was enamored, even with the ones she didn’t know. “Looook at the fireflies!” Indeed, there is so much richness and emotion in every one of Carle’s drawing, each one is like a story unto itself. It’s no wonder children are so drawn to them.
The show runs about 50 minutes, and encompasses four stories, all told by puppeteer narrators, clad in white overalls to let the colorful puppets stand out.
The first story, “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse” introduces the kids into the world of the show, with one delightfully surprising animal puppet entrance after another. The appearance of a red crocodile was noted by my small critic as her favorite moment of the entire show. I quite liked the pink bunny, whose bounce around the stage was given such a lively spring by his puppeteer.
“Mister Seahorse” is an underwater beauty, about the dads of the sea. “The Very Lonely Firefly” is a (completely non-scary) night scene about a firefly looking for his clan. When the fireflies finally unite, a concert of light puppets dance on stage, and I thought, “this is why we go to the theatre. We can’t experience this moment in any other form.”
By the final story, the natives were getting restless, and I heard small voices around me inquiring as to the whereabouts of their favorite caterpillar. Gasps of delighted recognition all around when the moon rose, and the leaf with an egg on it appeared. The kids were delighted with the familiar, and it was delivered with perfect reverence to the book. Joy all around when all that munching turned our chubby hero into the effervescent butterfly – a closing reward for both him and us.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is recommended for ages 2+ and runs through 9 October at the Sydney Opera House.
The puppets are so beautiful and gracefully managed – you can get a sense of them from Sydney Opera House’s promo video.