ANDERSON, Ind. —
Kirby Cunningham as the Snail that wanders through the play while delivering a letter wins the audience over with her comic naiveté. Lines like “I put the ‘go’ in escargot” make for fun songs, but Cunningham rocks it with shining vocals in “I’m Coming Out of My Shell.”
Turtle is a role not just played by Lauren Shaffter, but defined by her – a turtle with attitude. Wearing a bamboo parasol on her back to convey her turtle shell, Shaffter’s strong singing is lively and expressive. Turtle, along with Mouse, played by Kaitlyn Malone, and Thad Fry’s Lizard with his flipping tail, tickle the audience with “Getta Load of Toad.”
Other animals in the cast could not fail to please, from Rosella Weber as the winsome Little Mouse to the moles sporting their over-sized round thick glasses to the bad boy squirrels. You’ve gotta love squirrels with sunglasses and tough guy T-shirts with the sleeves pushed up.
Scott McFadden as the Large and Terrible Frog is fearsome in his billowing cape, but an absolute crowd-pleaser as he almost genteelly skips rope. Silas Morton is the convincing young Frog terrorized by the dangerous monster frog.
The children’s chorus is a collection of bees, sporting black and yellow tutus, and black ants (including one red one) with their pipe cleaner antennae. The large group of children made an excellent complement to the story, whether it was bringing forth the flowers in Toad’s garden or tossing snowballs at him.
The play runs a total of an hour and 45 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission that allows for little legs to get up and get their yeah-yeah’s out. The play is definitely engaging for young children, and the two acts are timed so as not to seriously overtax their limits.