October 19, 2013

Theater review: ‘Dora’s Pirate Adventure’ at Casa Mañana Children’s Theatre

The popular cartoon jumps out of the cartoon and onto the stage, and then never stops moving.

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The set looks like a jungle gym. The costumes are as loud as the recorded music. The kinetic action is relentless to the point of being exhausting.

In short, the Casa Mañana Children’s Theatre production of Dora the Explorer Live!: Dora’s Pirate Adventure is ideal for the young theatergoer.

Everything about this musical adventure, based on the Dora the Explorer cartoon series, just screams “fun.”

The simple, playgroundlike set by Colt Frank puts the youngsters in the right frame of mind at first sight. Then director Jeremy Dumont covers that set with a swirling mass of colorful characters, clad in Tammy Spencer’s wonderfully garish costumes, who never fall silent for a second as they chatter and sing in English and a little bit of Spanish.

Stefanie Tovar leads the charge in the title role and does a nice job of keeping her audience engaged and the energy level high. Although the acting does not matter much in this show intended for very young audiences, all the seasoned professionals in the cast, such as Greg Dulcie (Pirate Piggy Captain), treat it like they are doing Hamlet. That is nearly always the case in Casa children’s productions, and those actors deserve admiration for being so professional. It assures that Fort Worth children can learn what really first-rate acting is at an early age.

So if you have any little explorers around the house, drop them off at this production (this thing will drive an adult straight up a wall). They won’t really have to follow a plot, and they will be gloriously entertained by this show that frequently invites kids to take part in its sweet, gleeful zaniness.

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