Children’s theater often struggles to balance creating content that holds kids’ attention while also keeping the parents entertained. Off-Broadway production “LARD: Life’s a Real Dream” seems to have found the sweet spot. The plot is as whimsical as they come: The Human LARD Dog, a musician from the planet Belopio, travels on a giant pretzel to entertain Earth.
The Human LARD Dog is the alter ego of artist Steven Erdman. He brings just enough silliness to keep the kids engaged and excited while slipping in a few jokes and references for the adults. He is accompanied by his six-piece Band of Shy, which is full of accomplished musicians who bring the stage to life. Kendy Gable duets with Erdman as the character Honey Babe; her powerful yet sweet voice brings a wonderful energy to the stage.
The songs are incredible catchy. Numbers like “Do the Pooky Do” will have everyone in the audience dancing while more laid back songs like “I Dig Holes” will have kids singing along and encourage them to explore their creative sides. There are also several positive messages behind all of the silliness. There are songs detailing why shyness is power, how it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice, and encouraging everyone to slurp the noodle of life.
The story is appropriate for toddlers to young tweens. Do not worry about young kids getting restless, the vibe of the show is relaxed and there are no rules. Your child can sit down and watch or get up and dance around the aisles. The show has several interactive props and knows how to keep kids entertained. Before you enter the theater, emcee Patrick Holbert hands out sticks with art on the end. The keyboard is playing when you are taking your seats. Instead of waiting quietly for the show to start, kids are already getting in the mood and waving their props along with the music. Balloons are thrown out to the audience, bubble wrap is passed around, and there is a pretzel toss. There is a screen playing graphics and short clips of LARD dog doing silly things. All of these elements guarantee that your kid will never get bored during the hour long show. Plus, the set design is fun and colorful, with art by star cartoonists Tony Millionaire and Sam Henderson.
After the show, there are plenty of souvenirs to buy, including shirts, CDs, and posters. This is how your family can enjoy multiple times, especially since the tickets are only $20 online and $25 at the door.
LARD: Life’s a Real Dream is playing at 13th Street Repertory Company every Saturday at 11am until Jan. 2nd. Find tickets and more information at houseoflard.com!