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Review: Little Miss Muffet's Monster-Sitting Service

A new show based on the well-known nursey rhyme opens at Central Park's Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.

  • Photograph: Ramon Silva

    Little Miss Muffet's Babysitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette...

  • Photograph: Ramon Silva

    Little Miss Muffet's Babysitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette...

  • Photograph: Ramon Silva

    Little Miss Muffet's Babysitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette...

  • Photograph: Ramon Silva

    Little Miss Muffet's Babysitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette...

  • Photograph: Ramon Silva

    Little Miss Muffet's Babysitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette...

Photograph: Ramon Silva

Little Miss Muffet's Babysitting Service at the Swedish Cottage Marionette...

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

The latest offering from the puppet-operating talents at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre starts off normally enough—at least for New Yorkers. Precocious six-year-old Molly arrives home to a note from her parents reminding her that they are away for the weekend, and that her grandfather will be staying with her (they also ask that she record Real Housewives of New York for her dad!). But things turn delightfully wacky from there, as Grandpa calls to say he's stranded in Alaska and is sending his old pal Al in his place. Al, as it turns out, is a huge, 320-year-old orange spider—the very one who "sat down beside her"—beside Molly's great-great-great-great grandmother, that is.

Though he's a proper sort of gentleman, Al has little choice but to acquiesce when Molly comes up with the random idea of starting a babysitting service for monsters while her parents are away. We meet a parade of kid-pleasing clients—a furry red creature in a cage, a purple egg-shaped monster in a diaper, and a plant with an eyeball—and fun if predictable pandemonium ensues.

The theater's latest show isn't perfect, though. Some scenes are way too long—especially for the under-four set—and there's a bizarre plot twist involving a creepy megalomaniac monkey. The ending is a bit abrupt and confusing too. But the scenery rocks, the songs are adorable, and the marionette manipulation is amazing, making for an enjoyable, wild ride for practically any age.

plays at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre through Sun Apr 8.

Written and directed by Doug Stritch. Music and lyrics by Emily Fellner.

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