'Go Dog! Go' brings energy to stage

By Jerome Stuart Nichols | Life Editor
Added November 30, 2011 at 11:14 pm

It’s a very rare occasion one gets to see red, blue, yellow, green and pink dogs do the Macarena, drive cars into the sunset and wear hats. But in the land of “Go, Dog. Go!,” it’s really just an average day.

Running Dec. 2-11 in Quirk Theater, “Go, Dog. Go!” is the latest production by Eastern Michigan University’s theater department. This Patricia Moore Zimmer-directed production is a wonderfully bright and energetic adaptation of the eponymous children’s book by author P. D. Eastman.

When it was published in 1961, “Go, Dog. Go!” was made as a tool to teach children colors and relative positions. As a play, it is teaching children the same things, but with more life, song and fun than its literary predecessor.

From the moment our spotted canine main character, played by Daniel Millhouse, appears on stage donning a trench coat and knit hat reminiscent of a 90’s ska band, the humor and fun begins. Throughout the 90-minute, child-friendly play, the audience is given a peek into the world of dogs when humans aren’t around.

Did you know when our subdued canine friends aren’t lounging around being fluffy and adorable they enjoy juggling, driving cars, singing songs, playing baseball,
wearing hats and performing Benny Hill-esque comedy routines with rubber sandwiches? Who knew the adorable mess of fur and slobber that warms your feet at night was so darn talented?

“Go, Dog. Go!” is a delightfully light and humorous play that, while geared toward children, made this 24-year-old cynic giggle with childish delight. It’s undeniably charming cast of characters and sparklingly quirky music create an atmosphere much like the spritely fun of “Sesame Street Live” or “The Wiggles Live” as seen through the eyes of Dr. Suess.

Unlike the movie adaptation of “The Cat in the Hat” or “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” it’s incredibly difficult to find fault with this genuine and wholesome piece of theater. How can one find something to dislike about floppy-eared dogs acting like humans? There are whole servers at YouTube headquarters dedicated to this sort of thing. When you consider these are people dressed as dogs acting out a childlike parody of adulthood, it’s almost too much awesome to bear.

Anyone who can find fault in this is surely either dead inside or, even worse, a cat person and wouldn’t know joy if it slapped them in the face. Oddly enough, that’s a very fair description of my experience at the play. During the portion of the show where the audience is invited to participate in the show, I got hit in the head with one of the inflatable beach balls.

Without a doubt, “Go, Dog. Go!” is the single-most enjoyable play I have seen in a very long time. This is why you are urged to go, EMU. Go and see “Go, Dog. Go!” when it opens at 7 p.m. Friday in Quirk theater. This special, kid-friendly production will be having matinee 2 p.m. showings on Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11.

You can buy tickets at the EMU box office by calling 734-487-2282 or by visiting www.emutix.com.

Regular price tickets are $15, $12 for students and $7 for children 12 and under.

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