BIG BAD WOLF AND HIS GASSY GANG, Second City Children’s Theatre. Children’s entertainment has come a long way since Goodnight Moon–consider this play’s predecessor, in which the title character squared off against a villain who wore tighty whities on his head. In Second City Children’s Theatre’s latest installment of the “Big Bad Wolf” series, children are encouraged to blow raspberries when the benevolent Fairy Fartmother enters, the characters refer frequently to the Big Bad Wolf’s musky smell, and the entire 50-minute show is presented in smell-o-rama: fragrant and not so fragrant scratch-and-sniff stickers are distributed.
Martin Garcia reprises his role as the misunderstood wolf, en route to a family reunion in Branson in this particular misadventure. Garcia excels at the improvised bits, entertaining the audience with a wild series of spot-on animal impressions and songs. Tony Seales and Jean Villepique have a nice turn as the candy-intolerant Hansel and Gretel while the rest of the supporting cast displays a kid-friendly blend of manic slapstick and Nickelodeon-style humor.
The play casts a wide enough net that it won’t speak to all of the children all of the time. Still, it offers the chance to see Second City vets do what they do best in a playful, relaxed setting where the cast’s disarming slackness–like the stinkiest of farts–becomes a virtue.