Our Take on The Ankle Todd Show

When's the last time you wore a clown nose? It had been awhile for me too. But I recently discovered that a some family clown-nose-wearing is a very good thing.

If you are looking for a light-hearted family experience where you and your little ones can let loose and have a little fun (while all wearing ridiculous matching clown noses), then you should check out the The Ankle Todd Show.

This live comedy show for kids is the brainchild of the main character named Mr. Pants (professional performer Todd Obuchowski). The whole premise behind The Ankle Todd Show is that the characters are filming a live television show and you are in the studio audience. My kids certainly bought this set up and spent a lot of time looking around for the cameras -- which are not there.

The theme of the show changes from week-to-week so the content is always fresh. The show that we attended was about dinosaurs. The cast covered everything from what dinos eat to the noises they make and even more complicated information like the differences between the Jurassic and Triassic periods (heady stuff for my six-and-four-year-olds). The performance also features some regular weekly segments like the weather and the mail bag.

The best part of the experience is the fact that nearly everything about
the show is interactive. During some segments, kids are invited up on
to the stage to participate. So for example, my kids uses paint brushes
to participate in an "archeological dig." They also dressed up as dinos
in homemade costumes (which were super clever). Other times, kids are
encouraged to shout answers from the audience. The atmosphere is totally
casual. Kids can walk around, make noise, or fall out of their seats
(like my son did). 

The Ankle Todd Show is really focused on
kids. Upon entering the theater, each person is handed a
glow-in-the-dark bracelet and a clown nose. The kids could also take a
wooden dinosaur and crayons to color while we waited for the show to
start. About two-thirds through the nearly one-hour performance, the
cast offered everyone in the audience juice boxes and fruit snacks
passed on trays. What kind of show includes snacks for your kids? How
great is that? These folks really do know how to make a kid happy.

Overall,
the show has a simple, homegrown vibe. The small set is cluttered with
homemade decorations. Some of the banter between the characters was a
bit awkward. Not every single segment was absolutely hilarious and one
or two bits kind of fell flat. But that's me talking -- my kids were just
smiling and having a good time.

The most telling review comes
from my two little show-goers -- who began asking when we could go back
to see The Ankle Todd show again before we even got home. They have no
idea what it means to give something 5 stars, but I'm pretty sure that
is how they would rate their first experience at The Ankle Todd Show.

Performances takes place every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at the Playground
Theater (3209 N. Halsted). Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for kiddos
under age 10. Visit the
website
for more information on the themes for upcoming shows.

In
the interest of full disclosure, blogger transparency and all of that
good stuff, I want to let you know that Mr. Pants and I were schoolmates
as kids. He was just as funny then as he is now. Because he is a super
nice guy, he provided me with free tickets so I could bring my kids to
check out his show. We'll be paying customers next time.

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