Bunnicula: the Musical
I went to see Bunnicula: The Musical this afternoon. For basically no other reason than the fact that my seven-year-old self had loved the books.
And I figured, a musical about a vampire rabbit who left in his wake a trail of albino vegetables, drained of their juices… how bad could it be?
The answer: it was delightfully goofy. I was very pleased. Josh, my theater buddy on this outing, said “it was just the right mix of nostalgia, lighthearted camp and musical goodness.”
The story is this- the Monroe family adopts a bunny they find at a showing of Dracula at the local theater. The bunny is a little odd- sleeps all day, and may or may not have glowing red eyes. Chester, the very well-read family cat is convinced Bunnicula’s some kind of sinister vampire. Harold, the family dog, is maybe slower on the uptake. Josh noticed Harold’s resemblance to Barf, from Spaceballs. I agree. The family pet characters were dressed in velour sort of tracksuits and hats with animal ears. Both actors worked physically very well, blending animal and anthropomorphic physicality really well.
I think I liked the show as much as I wanted to, which was a relief, because it meant that books I loved as a kid were adapted well. I could giggle and accept what I saw at face value, with lines like “I was in Centreville in salad drag” or the delightfully campy-ominous tones of the “Bunnicula!” introduction song. And I could also see the ways the musical was written perfectly for its intended six-year-old-ish audience, with a little bit of slapstick, some broadly drawn and emphasized musical humor, funny talking animal characters, and catchy songs. A couple of Teachable Moments thrown in.
It worked the way of a good kids’ movie- with plenty of fun that could reach kids, but enough to keep grownups on board.