If You Give a Mouse a Cookie 

New theater productions offer comedy, cookies and Christmas cheer.

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Before the opening-night performance of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a Salt Lake Acting Company staffer instructed young audience members about the way a play is different from a movie or a TV show. If there were any concerns that the production wouldn’t keep kids enthralled, they can now be dispelled.

Director Penelope Caywood oversees a simply delightful version of Laura Numeroff’s charming picture book—adapted by Jody Davidson—about an unnamed young boy (Michael Gardner) whose encounter with a mouse (Dustin Bolt) leads to a very eventful afternoon. Starting with the innocent offer of a cookie to the mouse, they turn the boy’s house—particularly the kitchen, fancifully pitched at a perfect kid’s-eye-view scale by Keven Myhre—upside-down.

Read the review of Around the World in 80 Days
Read the review of White Christmas

And it’s hard to imagine a more joyous celebration of the energy and imagination of children. The boy and the mouse play a game of dueling “instruments” with straws; the boy tricks the mouse with a “mirror” that leads to an homage to a classic scene from the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup; and the mouse acts out the adventure as the boy reads from his Jungle Man comic book. Both actors are appealing, but Bolt throws himself physically into his role, including a goofy dance montage that incorporates everything from the macarena to “Single Ladies.”

In a way, Cookie plays almost as a case study in perfect family-friendly theater. It doesn’t treat kids as creatures with no attention span. It respects them, and all the creativity they can bring to storytelling. 

Salt Lake Acting Company
168 W. 500 North
Through Dec. 26

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