The 100-acre Wood was a bustling place on a recent night at Theatre St. Denis. Hundreds of kids and their parents were in attendance to watch Winnie the Pooh's friends plan a surprise birthday party for our favourite honey eating bear. The shows are happening in English and French during the holiday season. Being that they are staged by Disney you expected high quality, but what I saw went beyond my expectations.
Along with a female narrator and three honey helpers the story of Winnie the Pooh's surprise birthday unfolded before our eyes. Rabbit decides to through a surprise birthday party for his friend Pooh and so he will bake the cake, Roo and his mother Kanga will take care of the decorations and Piglet will take care of keeping Pooh away from Rabbit's house while the preparations are taking place. The always bouncing Tigger spends most of the day getting into trouble and trying to find the perfect gift for Pooh.
The set, costumes (each of Pooh's gang of fuzzy friends were especially fuzzy and lovable), story, music, and choreography was all top notch. The narrator tells the story, sings some songs and basically leads the audience into how they can participate in the story. The three honey helpers are dancers, acrobats, singers, and jugglers who help entertain the crowd before the show starts, during the story and during intermission. Each of the animals does something special with Roo ice skating at one point, Owl flying in on his perch, Piglet and Pooh flying up with balloons, and Tigger bouncing around everywhere. That is besides all the singing and dancing they do.
The show is very interactive with the small audience members encouraged to participate by dancing and yelling out different things. There are sections where the kids get up to do exercises with Pooh and bounce like Tigger. All kids were on the edge of their seats following the story watching everything with big eyes and smiles on their faces. Some of the songs are ones that fans of the cartoon character will be very familiar with.
The set was very impressive with its huge trees and large screen in the middle where images are projected. At several different points confetti, silly string and big huge inflatable vegetables are released into the crowd.
With the show being a very kid friendly under 90 minutes long with a 15 minute intermission about 45 minutes in, the whole thing does not have any low moments. It is a fun time for kids and parents alike.