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.
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.