Based on Annie Silvestro's children's book of the same title, this Lifeline Theatre KidSeries world premiere, adapted by Aly Renee Amidei and directed by Anthony Kayer, is a joyful celebration of reading and its ability to expand imaginations. Animals interested in reading could be a challenging conceit, but the production is liberal in its anthropomorphism, with modern costumes only hinting at each character's animal characteristics.
Bunny (Whitney Dottery) realizes she's the only one among her furry friends without a "calling" or passion; Mole, Porcupine, and Bear are preoccupied with favorite hobbies like digging, eating, and sleeping. One afternoon she comes upon a librarian hosting a story time outside the library. Her guide into this new world of words, books, and stories? Intelligent and street-savvy Raccoon (Dakota Hughes), who is already wise to the world of the library and the immersive allure of books. Hughes steals the show, playing Raccoon like a New York tough with a hidden well of knowledge, humor, and desire to connect. After the pair hear stories about Mount Everest, Treasure Island, and more, Bunny becomes singularly focused on getting into the library, reading up, and starting her own book club.
Recommended for ages five and up, this one-act drew in younger audience members with physical comedy and direct address on the afternoon I attended. Kids were quick to answer even the most rhetorical of questions, and perhaps that storytelling component could be expanded even further to maintain engagement throughout. v