By Roxy Orcutt When I saw Bunnicula up on the marquee at Lyric Arts, I may have let out a little squeal. The Bunnicula books were one of my favorites when I was a kid, how could they not be? A not-so-scary vampire bunny that sucked the juice from vegetables rather than the blood from humans was downright delightful. I was curious as to see how the books would translate to the stage, and Lyric Arts did not disappoint.
The moment Harold the dog opened the show, played wonderfully by Sarah Frazier, I knew this production was going to do the Bunnicula I grew up with justice. Harold, and his housemate, Chester the cat, played with such perfect feline precision by Brianna Regan, live comfortably with their humans, the Monroes, in suburban bliss. One night, however, when the Monroe’s come home from seeing a movie and bring back a wayward bunny, Harold and Chester’s lives go from napping on couches and eating table scraps to investigating the unexplained, as only a dog and cat can.
Harold and Chester soon realize this bunny isn’t any ordinary bunny, he’s something downright supernatural. Through their instincts and a few of Chester’s books, the pair come to the conclusion that Bunnicula lives up to his bloodsucking namesake.
While Harold, Chester, and the Monroes, are all played by a phenomenal cast of humans, (Mr. and Mrs. Monroe, played by Bailey Hess and Jason Stone, are particularly hysterical in their straight-outta-the-vintage-sitcoms Mom and Dad) Bunnicula is brought to life by the use of puppetry. When Bunnicula goes into vampire mode, his eyes glow red and his fangs come out in full force, but not too scary to illicit nothing more than giggles from the mostly-kids audience.
One of the best elements of the play was the music and lighting. We are taken through several days as the play unfolded, all communicated through the great use of light and musical cues. There is one piece of music used just off-stage to a great foreboding, and humorous, effect that may have been my favorite part of the play.
I was downright charmed by this entire production. I brought along my four-year-old daughter whose eyes never left the stage and has since told everyone we see about the vampire bunny that turns the vegetables white. I would recommend this play to all ages. Like I mentioned, the audience was filled with mostly children, and not a single one of them seemed to lose interest or get antsy during the rapid-fire, entertaining 70 minute production.
Roxy Orcutt, The Halloween Honey, is a local author and theater enthusiast. Her book, “History and Hauntings of the Halloween Capital,” explores Anoka, MN, its spooky tales, colorful characters, and why it is named the “Halloween Capital of the World.” It is available for sale online at www.HalloweenHoney.com.