By Christin Pounds, Burlington Writers Workshop
A review of The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System, which was live at the Flynn on Thursday, January 10.
We could hear the tiny voices of preschoolers even before we rounded the corner onto Main Street. My son, Skye, also a preschooler, was quietly taking it all in. This was his first trip to the Flynn, something he had been looking forward to, having siblings who love the Flynn. Theatreworks USA’s The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System didn’t disappoint! The cast of six was as enthusiastic as you would require anyone to be performing for a theater full of squirming young viewers.
The set was simple and movable, with rolling chairs and a yellow bus made of pipes and wheels that moved with the performers where needed. The young cast sang the story of the popular book, The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System, with some contemporary changes. The musical opened with the kids coming back to school after summer break, wondering what the Frizz would have in store for them, while Ralphie pulled out a cell phone to snap a picture (“back to school selfie!”).
Ms. Frizzle entered the stage with all the pizzazz I hoped for, complete with a twirly solar system dress, red ringlets, and an improvised plan to study the solar system up close. The songs were fun, the jokes were silly (“I’ll help you planet” [a party]), and the Frizz even showed off her dancing skills by incorporating the floss into a dance number. I especially enjoyed the character Arnold who had a lot of lead time. He had a nice singing voice, good dance timing, and was fully committed to the humor of his performance.
All of my children love The Magic School Bus books and TV show, and though I originally planned to bring my seven-year-old to the show, my four-year-old was in good company as most of the crowd appeared to be preschoolers. The simplicity of the set and energy of the performers helped him follow the story easily. This performance was sensory-sensitive for the young audience with dimmed lighting, decreased sound volume, and a one-hour length without intermission. Skye’s first time at the Flynn was the perfect little Thursday night date, and The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System was a just right performance for the little first timer.
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