Ring a Ding Ding – The New Victory Theater (Review)

My daughter recently had her first true participatory theatrical experience as we embarked on a mother/daughter adventure to see Oily Cart’s Ring a Ding Ding (created for ages 3-5) at The New Victory Theater in Manhattan’s Times Square.

Our progressive, artistic adventure began as soon as we walked into the theater.  We first ventured into a crafting room where children created oversized headbands similar to those seen in the show.  As George the Music Man filled the room with drum beats, the children danced, prior to being greeted by the main characters in Ring a Ding Ding.  Lucia was thrilled when Alice (played by Alicia McKenzie) noted their matching hair bows. The process of contextualizing the productions components continued as the characters in Alice’s adventure were introduced through a series of hanging pictures.

After ringing a bell – one by one, the children  leapt through a serious of hoops before settling in their seats around a circular cut-out wooden disk.  The disk served as a stage, where the actors performed inside of it, and the children propelled it’s edges “round and round” as they sat below a rotating weathervane. 

My daughter was thoroughly captivated as she watched Alice and friends embark on a rescue mission for her lost dog, through interactive storytelling involving actors with mini puppet body-doubles and magnificent props. Writer and director Tim Web and designer Claire de Loon’s extraordinary and sometimes peculiar show are built with brilliant attention to detail.  Constructed with recycled and re purposed materials, even the ushers donned layers of necklaces made from garden hoses.  I was particularly impressed with George the Music Man’s percussion mobile and even once felt a rave-like reality complete with high intensity color changing glow balls on cords.

 At a few months shy of five years old, my daughter loved feeling like she was part of the performance and greatly enjoyed it’s multi-sensory components, including the splashing created by a miniature motor boat and the man in the moon’s glittery tears.  The show runs for 55 minutes and spouts of dancing and plyometric jumping keep audience members on their toes.  

As I watched my daughter’s wide eyed, awestruck face I hoped that she would grab onto the rich creativity and magical whimsy woven through Ring a Ding Ding and ingrain it deep into her young mind.  It is truly a treat, and a must see for both children and grown ups alike.

Ring a Ding Ding runs until November 11th at the New Victory Theaters New 42nd Street Studios.  Tickets can be purchase on their website or by calling (646-223-3010).

The New Victory theater is kindly offering my readers a 20% off discount to their upcoming production of MOJO (code MDMojo3412).

Thank you Mama Drama for providing me with tickets.  As always, all opinions are my own.