It is not too late to see Aladdin at The Puppet Co in Glen Echo Park! (Glen Echo MD) I took my boys to see this 50 minute puppet production, and I couldn’t be more glad I did. The phrase “puppet show” may or may not bring to mind a sophisticated theatrical performance, but productions by The Puppet Co are very sophisticated. Aladdin is running through March 15, with shows on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. See their Calendar for details.
From the very first scene where the magician has summoned an other-worldy assistant to the very last, the effects are spectacular. My 7 year old declared the Magician “creepy” and said the opening scene made him nervous something bad was going to happen. This kid has seen pretty much everything contemporary animation has to offer him, so if he thought the bad guy was “creepy,” then trust me, he was! My three year old was under the recommended age for this performance, and he did have trouble lasting the entire 50 minutes. Fortunately, the performance is shown on screens in the lobby during the show, so when he finally lost all ability to hang about 10 minutes before the end, we were able to watch the conclusion anyway. His favorite part of the production was without a doubt the arrival of the princess, mounted on an elephant. The elephant puppet was large enough to conceal the operator inside it, which may not actually be “life size,” but was plenty impressive for us.
As an adult, I loved this production as well. Not only did I enjoy the telling of the story, I was able to appreciate the skillful way the operation of the puppets contributed to the effects of appearances and disappearances, and I adore the way they use a projection screen behind the action to give the audience a feeling of distance in the action. For instance, when the magician flies off on his magic carpet, he makes his departure into the wings, and then we see his shadow sail off into the distance by the light of the moon. It’s very effective, not just as a transition, but as a part of the action.
What to know before you go:
There is plenty of parking at Glen Echo Park, but the parking area is a short and pleasant walk from the puppet theater. Allow yourself enough time to park and make the walk, particularly if you need to get your tickets at Will call. There is no food or drink allowed in the performances, with the exception of bottles, sippy cups, and tightly covered water bottles. Photography is not allowed during the show, but bring your camera for the Puppets & Puppeteers meet & greet after the show. Smoke effects are used during the show, but there are no strobes or flashing lights, and the volume is reasonable. There were toddlers in attendance, and none of them were startled or frightened by loud noises. Most The Puppet Co seating is floor seating, meaning sitting on the carpet, but there are bench seats around the room for adults with or without children on laps.
Show & Ticket Information
From ancient Persia comes this lavish and entrancing tale, true to the original “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” full of genies, wizards, magic caves, exotic princesses, and an elephant! Half life-size rod puppets and exciting special effects make this production exciting and exotic theater.
Age Recommendation: K-Grade 8 • Running Time: 50 Minutes