Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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‘Bunnicula’ at the Hertz Theatre

2009 October 9
Jimi Kocina as Harold the dog; Photo: Amy Sinclair

Jimi Kocina as Harold the dog Photo: Amy Sinclair

Part Dracula and part cartoon, “Bunnicula” is a musical based on a series of popular children’s books about a bunny named Bunnicula who sucks the life out of vegetables and turns them white. Produced by Synchronicity, the show is playing at the Hertz Theatre at Woodruff Arts Center and is suitable  for children ages 5 and above.

Soon after the Monroe family brings home a new bunny found in a movie theater, the vegetables in the refrigerator turn white. No one can figure out why. Harold the dog and Chester the cat slowly unravel the mystery. Harold, played by Jim Kocina, and Chester, played by Erin Lorette, do a wonderful job of acting like animals and putting us humans in the shoes of our pets.

Mr. Monroe (Nick Arapaglou), a professor, and Mrs. Monroe (Rachel White), a lawyer, are married with two young boys, Toby (Royce Mann) and Pete (Tendall Mann). The Monroes adore their new bunny and sometimes take out their hostilities on their innocent dog and cat. Mrs. Monroe can be stern and scary sometimes, especially when she wields a big kitchen knife and stabs the kitchen table. She can also be charming, especially when she and Mr. Monroe make goo-goo eyes at each other and sing and dance together.

Bunnicula, a puppet the size of a toddler, comes to life with expressive movements that make him look like he runs a gamut of emotions. He also can look like an evil monster when his eyes literally light up and glow. Puppeteer Amy Rush is fully visible but inconspicuous in a mummy-like costume.

Just before the play opens, an announcer warns children that there may be some scary parts in the show. He says, “This is what the theater will look like when there is thunder.” Lights and strobes flicker quickly to represent lightning. The voice continues, “This is what the room will sound like when there is thunder.” Rumblings and booms are heard over the sound system. The voice says that there is nothing to be scared about.

Leigh Partington’s two daughters, Audrey, 7, and Eleanor, 10, were a couple of the children attending the show last weekend. Both have read a few of the Bunnicula series of books. They both said they liked the show a lot. Audrey said, “I really liked Mrs. Monroe. She was funny.”

“Bunnicula” continues at the Hertz Theatre at Woodruff Arts Center through Oct. 18.

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