KID’S SHOW REVIEW: PLOP! by Amy Wall Lerman, editor, Baby Bloomer eZine from MotherhoodLater.com
“We have to stop the terrible plop!” My son could not stop repeating this phrase as we drove back to New Jersey after a visit to the “big city” where we spent the early part of the afternoon watching about 40 kids squeal with delight as apples dropped from the sky. The child audience was participating in a performance brought straight to New York City’s New Victory Theater from the Windmill Theatre in Adelaide, Australia.
Plop! is a clever interpretation of a picture book for preschoolers, The Terrible Plop, by Ursula Dubosarsky with illustrations by Andrew Joyner and this show is absolutely mesmerizing. While parents are entranced by the sight of their children laughing, pointing, and dancing, the kids are equally engaged as they watch Nathan and Nadia stop apples from splashing (or “plopping” – as my son corrected me later) from the ceiling into a magical pond below.
Why stop the plop? Well, in this peaceful forest setting where bunny rabbits play and wave to children from inside picnic baskets, the “plop” of each apple is startling both from the sound it makes, the water it spills, and the mystery that surrounds its fall from the sky. Children screech excitedly as the third actor on stage (a “bear” and sound man) plays an escalating voice that cries “plop, plop, plop…” until it reaches a crescendo of plops and an apple drops from a tube above a deep container of water in the center of the stage.
The children are seated in a semi-circle around “the stage” (decorated with scenes from the book) where the action takes place. My son managed to maneuver himself to the front, making me wonder if he was going to get right up there with the actors or attempt a leap into the magic pool, but there were no shenanigans – just a lot of laughter, dancing, and fun.
Aside from the unique aspects of the play itself, I was also very impressed by the attention to detail when it came to entertaining the children and keeping the parents sane. Before the curtains open to the room where the stage is located, the children are gathered in a waiting area where images from the books line the walls and a little concession stand sells hardback copies of the book for $16. Here the kids are invited to color and create their own forest picnic scene complete with cut-out bunnies pasted onto oversized Popsicle sticks. The kids are also asked to spot bunnies hiding in handmade trees on the walls: if they find a bunny, their name is written on a paper apple and hung on the foliage (they don’t really even have to find a bunny to get their names on apples, but, “ssshh,” don’t tell).
Another impressive off-stage moment I noted was when a woman was trying to soothe her younger child who started to cry after the lights were dimmed. I saw the stage manager nod to the back of the room, and someone rushed to her side with a wooden apple and a soft plush bunny to engage the child and help the mom (and keep the room “quiet” for the opening scene too, I’m sure).
After the show, the children were given the opportunity to explore the set, touch the sound equipment, pet the puppet bunnies, stick their hands into the water and interact with Australian performers, Nadia Rossi, Nathan O’Keefe, and Tyson Hopprich (otherwise known as “the bear” or “DJ Trip”).
It’s amazing how many wonderful things you can find in New York City for kids. I didn’t know about The New Victory Theater which houses a series of stage performances for children of all ages. While Plop! is recommended for ages 2-5 (and I agree with this age range), the theater houses shows for older kids and families as well. Many have just as much adult appeal like the recent critically-acclaimed production of The Book of Everything.
Whether you live in, or near, New York, or if you are visiting from outside the area, Plop! is a must for families. But you better hurry; the show only runs through May 13th. And at $20 per ticket, it’s certainly less expensive than a Broadway musica,l and you are steps away from Times Square where, nowadays, there are plenty of stores and restaurants and activities for the entire family to enjoy.
For more information on the show go to:
For more information on the book The Terrible Plop go to: