...shining light on the media, one review at a time
As a film critic, it takes something special to draw me away from my movie-watching ritual at night. Last night, that something special was a live puppet show. Think a puppet show can’t compete with the entertainment of movies? Then you haven’t seen the Hairy & Company puppet show by performers John and Diane Windle.
The Windles prove that puppet shows aren’t just for kids. While John and Diane conquer the daunting task of entertaining children of all ages, they also manage to get laughs from the parents. The funniest moments in the comedic show often come from John’s witty ad libs, whether as himself or when animating the puppets.
Diane assists the comedy, as well, in her brilliant ability to act opposite puppets. With an authenticity professional stage actors often struggle to have, Diane makes young and old audiences believe that she is having an unscripted conversation with a person when she chats with the puppets up on stage. The most amazing part? She can do this with vibrant reality hundreds of times, repeating the same scripted routine as if it were the first time and being concocted as she goes along.
As seasoned professionals, John and Diane have the kind of chemistry and relaxed stage presence many performers can only dream of. In addition, they keep the performance fresh by adding new material to the routines. They even added a new puppet to the family in the popular Snozzle, a blue puppet with an oversized head and long nose who gets laughs from little ones with his bumbling ways. The all-time favorite and star of the show is Hairy, a fluffy yellow puppet whose dry comedy and funny hairdos have children and their parents nearly rolling on the floor with laughter.
The best part of the Hairy & Company puppet show, however, is the Windles’ focus on teaching families about God. John and Diane use their gifted voices and polished musical skills to sing original songs that help kids memorize Bible verses, engage the audience in worship, and encourage Christians to fight the darkness of the world with light. These songs are accompanied with fun hand motions that keep youngsters involved.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing the Hairy & Company show for many years. That probably makes me biased, but it also makes me a fan. Invite Hairy & Company to your church or visit Camp Forest Springs in Westboro, WI (the home for Hairy & Company). After you and your kids get done laughing and discussing the great lessons learned from the show, I guarantee you’ll join the fan club, too.