Music, Puppetry, and Nonverbal Communication: LOLLIPOPS FOR BREAKFAST

Photo credit: Liz Linder

Photo credit: Liz Linder

Presented by The Gottabees at the Charlestown Working Theatre
Created by Bonnie Duncan / The Gottabees
Music by Brendan Burns & Tony Leva

January 16-17, 2016
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
Charlestown Working Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Charlestown, MA) To think with a critical eye as a small crowd of children turns around to stare at (and silently judge) you and your small bag of goldfish and kids-sized juice box that you bought from the humble concession stand is no small feat. My friend and I may have arrived sans children and unchaperoned, but we were up to the challenge.

Lollipops for Breakfast is a children’s show that is able to accomplish fantastical storytelling through music, puppetry, and nonverbal communication. There are no words spoken during the entire performance, but Bonnie Duncan, the show’s sole performer, is able to hit every plot point necessary to tell a story that is both captivating and enchanting.

One morning, our main character, a girl, wakes up dreaming of having a lollipop for breakfast. With the help of her bird friend, and a lollipop-making machine, she is able to concoct a colorful, fruity lollipop, but it drops and shatters. To make a new sugary confection, the two must put aside their anger and work together to collect all the ingredients to craft a new rainbow pop.

My biggest surprise when seeing this performance was first that there was no speaking or singing involved. A soft hum of folksy music opened up the show, and I waited for a “Good Morning” number of sorts, but no words were sung. More surprising for me was that the kids in the audience at this show were not filling the void of language with their own childish banter. I had expected a children’s show to be quite unpleasant, but Bonnie’s decision to nonverbally communicate the play was loud enough to keep the younger audience engaged and quiet.

The music that Brendan Burns and Tony Leva composed did a marvelous job of crafting a world of puppets and adorable whimsy without distracting the audience or letting the larger themes of the play disappear. The folk-style music perfectly balanced with the show’s nonverbal approach and was its own independent storytelling narrative.

To book The Gottabees for a performance, you can visit their website here. Also, you can purchase the recorded music from the show online here. Lollipops for Breakfast runs for 45 minutes and includes a free lollipop for each audience member. If that’s not enough to convince you to book a performance, this is clearly not the show for you.

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