This post is sponsored by Children’s Theatre Company
Once again, the Children’s Theatre Company has brought the world to its stage. We saw it most recently with last season’s closing show, American Tail, the story of the Mousekewitz family, a family immigrating to America after facing persecution in Russia. But look back in their production history and you’ll see countless shows introducing the cultures of the world to children and their families in Minneapolis, MN.
This season, Children’s Theatre Company opens its 2023-2024 season with a literal bang (of the drum) with Cookin’, a South Korean theatrical performance with global popularity. Created by Seung-Whan Song, who also created the opening and closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Cookin’ tells the story of four young chefs in a catering kitchen who must prepare a wedding feast in just one hour.
However, in this kitchen, every dish, every vegetable, and every situation becomes an opportunity for our four young chefs to break out into fast-paced, electrifying drumming. Every utensil becomes a drumstick and every pot and pan, every chopping board, bucket, and surface — a drum. Cookin’ is a complete feast for the eyes. Children are mesmerized from the moment the show opens. It’s 90 minutes of pure knockabout comedy entertainment. There is slicing and dicing and chopping and whacking. Vegetables fly, plates spin, and cabbage..well you’ll see. If you loved last season’s Corduroy and Dean Holt’s incredible physicality, you will absolutely love Cookin’.
What makes Cookin’ such a delight is the way the actors on stage interact with the audience. A chef will steal a knowing glance at us when something particularly funny happens, or a bag of “garbage” will come flying our way while the actors onstage are drumming to a wild beat and thumping rock music (composed by Dong Jun Lee) reverberates through the auditorium. This type of audience participation runs throughout the show and only endears us even more to the actors. Audience members are pulled on stage to taste-test soup, assemble dumplings, and more. We won’t ruin all of the surprises for you!
If there was a show for all ages, Cookin’ is it. My kids were full-on belly laughing the entirety of the performance and I must say that I wore a grin from start to finish…so much so that my cheeks hurt. I looked over at my husband and he too, spent most of the show laughing out loud. I made it a point to look around the auditorium and to my delight, I saw people of all ages in the audience. Some with kids, many without—all laughing and engaging with the show.
On the drive home, I wanted to capture the thoughts my kids had about Cookin’. I set up the record feature on my phone and started to ask some questions. We asked, “What did you like best about this show?” They answered with what we expected, “The flying vegetables!” “The drumming!” “The fire!” They talked about some of the more slapstick parts of the show and one particularly funny audience participation bit during an interlude that included clapping and stopping while following along with one of the actors.
Then I asked, “Why will kids and adults like this show?” My nine-year-old paused for a moment and I could tell she was thinking hard about her answer. Then she said,
We speak English and they speak Korean but that didn’t matter. We understood everything they did and we all had a really good time.
Cookin’ unites its audience with the universal language of laughter, music, and food. We applaud the Children’s Theatre for consistently bringing the cultures of the world to its stage.
See Cookin’ through October 22, 2023. Tickets to Cookin’ may be purchased online at https://childrenstheatre.org/whats-on/cookin/ or by calling the ticket office at 612.874.0400. Ticket prices start at $15 for kids and $25 for adults. Lap passes are available for children 3 years and younger.
School groups interested in attending Cookin‘ can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more