The Seattle Children's Theatre's staging of "The Green Sheep" is a totally charming, interactive theater experience meant for children aged 1 to 4.

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Garbed in black, a man playing a banjo and a woman with a harmonica prance into the lobby at the Seattle Children’s Theatre and ask the assembled little ones, their mothers, fathers and grandparents if any one has seen the green sheep. Of course no one has, so, after a bit of looking and baaaing, all are led into the theater, where the search will continue.

“The Green Sheep” is a totally charming, interactive theater experience meant for children aged 1 to 4. As the youngsters clap and dance, wave their arms about and sit mesmerized with mouths open and eyes wide, the adults smile and laugh, then get up and dance, too. The grown-ups lucky enough to be in the audience are almost as rapt as are the children.

Cate Fowler directs this silly yet educational play based on the popular learning-storybook by author Mem Fox and cartoonist Judy Horacek, both Australians. As the search in the play goes on, the children encounter all kinds of flat-puppet sheep, but never that elusive green sheep. There are red sheep and blue sheep, near sheep and far sheep, brave sheep and scared sheep. One sheep takes a bath complete with a shower of bubbles. When the thin sheep sits on the teeter-totter and the wide sheep sits on the other end … whoops!

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The concept of up and down is immediately evident. All the activities are accompanied by music or musical sound effects played by the talented Auston James. Morgan Rowe, Trick Danneker and Sarah Mixson lead the children and their adult companions in the spirited search. All three actors can “baaaa” with authority and enthrall the children as they manipulate the sheep puppets (that aren’t green).

The action takes place in a brightly colored sheep pen on whose green carpeted floor the audience sits. Everyone is right in the midst of things, and is free to wander around as the activities or their own desires dictate. Just long enough for toddlers, the play ends with an invitation to check out the instruments or listen as one of the actors reads the book. For those who want to, there’s also a chance to visit and touch the green sheep — finally found as the play ends.

Nancy Worssam:

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