This past weekend, I had the most amazing opportunity to receive tickets to see Red Branch Theatre Company’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad. With my background of having freelanced for Daily Actor and having written articles on acting for StudentFilmmakers Magazine, the review opportunity was very fitting for me. I brought my older daughter Samantha, who had the best time. We watched the show in a packed theatre, with an engaged audience consistently clapping and laughing. While the actors showed incredible talent, the show appealed to the kids in the audience as well as the adults.
A Year with Frog and Toad Review
Walking into the theatre show, the box office ladies greeted the two of us with an activity book for kids. Inside, my daughter found coloring pages, a page for autographs, and a page to write letters to Frog and Toad. The theatre company clearly put a lot of thought into making the whole production appeal to kids, even as soon as kids walked in the front door. I helped Samantha write her letter to Frog and Toad. She was so proud to put the letter in the mailbox. Later, after the show, she whispered to Toad (Gavin Shown) that she wrote him a letter. As a teacher, I liked that the theatre company integrated letter writing into the show, while also giving kids the chance to meet the actors.
Regarding the actors, Frog (Cory Jones) and Toad were incredibly amicable to stay late after the show meeting kids and posing for one or two pictures. They had great acting talent. Frog’s voice filled the room melodically, and his timing was impeccable. Toad captured the crowd continuously, often making people laugh. My daughter was really excited to meet Frog and Toad, although another guest caught her attention too!
Santa’s appearance was a great end to the play. My daughter ran down to the stage without even checking to see if I followed her. When an elf handed out candy canes and coloring books, Samantha was in awe. She hadn’t met an elf before, so the experience made her all grins. Usually, according to her dad, the elves are in the workshop making toys, so getting an elf to come out and make an appearance was very special.
When Samantha left the show, she showed how much she loved her time there with a huge grin and a jump. Coming home, she continued to talk about the show. “Did you know, dad, that Toad made an amazingly delicious hot chocolate?” she said. The show made a big impression on her. I used the opportunity to discuss the theme of friendship. Frog and Toad had a genuine friendship that they showed with several acts of kindness to each other.
When the leaves fell during the fall, Frog and Toad snuck to each other’s house to rake each other’s leaves to do a secret, kind act. When Toad said he never received any letters in the mail, Frog immediately mailed a letter to make Toad happy. After Frog left his home to ponder life on an island, Toad faced the deep water to see what was wrong. On Christmas Eve, Toad prepared to face any terrible situation to find his best friend, Frog, who seemed lost. Despite the consequences, Frog and Toad were always willing to be there for each other.
Another impressive acting talent was actress Caroline Griswold. Switching roles frequently, Griswold maintained an incredibly consistent performance. When Griswold came out on stage in her ballerina outfit, Samantha sat up straight in her chair and exclaimed with glee, “A ballerina!” The dance was the highlight of the show to my daughter. Griswold did a great job switching characters. In one scene, she played the boisterous bird. In the next scene, she showed a softer side, playing young Frog. Both scenes were excellent, which showed the actress’ great range and ability.
For my local readers, I would wholeheartedly recommend visiting the show next weekend, Friday, December 19th or Saturday, December 20th. As a heartwarming show, A Year with Frog and Toad was a wonderful event for the holiday season. With the holidays being an opportunity to teach children about giving, I had many opportunities to discuss being a giving person after watching the show. Visit the theatre company’s website to learn more.