If, when you think of Children’s Theatre Company, you think of sitting still for 45 minutes while you watch actors on stage, you will have a completely wrong idea for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This interactive play brings the audience into a the action. I sold it to my 10-year-old as, “It’s like Spy Kids, but you are in it.” And that was pretty accurate. We ran, we ducked, we used our mental telepathy to save the world and then we had everything we thought we knew pulled out from under us and this was all packed into 45 minutes of action.
I know my children love CTC, because they fight to be my date on these reviews, but usually when I ask how they liked the show, I get a non-committal, “Good,” and if I want more, I have to pry it out of them. That was not the case with 20,000 Leagues. The 45 minute bus ride home was a non-stop, non breathing rush of words — plots, schemes and plans for the next day’s mission. We saved our special ORKA stickers to make badges, and the next day started with a black turtle neck and black jeans (despite my repeated pleas to dress in something heatwave appropriate) and a sack full of spy equipment. I love anything that encourages that much imagination and free play.
This could make a really fun Birthday party or scout troup activity.
Really the question is not “Who would enjoy 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?” The question is really whether it is appropriate for your child. It is not appropriate for children under 5 – they aren’t even invited. This action adventure is for middle graders (Grades 3-8) who are not restricted in their movements. There is a LOT of movement.
I would not take a child who is highly claustrophobic. There are several instances where the whole group crowds into a small room or elevator. It may not be the best activity for children who are sensory sensitive. There are loud noises, flashing lights, temperature changes and incidental touching.
I think my 5-year-old boy would have liked it, but he is on the edge. Some parts were scary. Some parts were intense. There is a part where the audience is asked to weigh in morally and ethically. The subject matter may have been beyond his understanding.
I am really out of shape and my knees are still a little messed up from my last pregnancy; I could feel it by the end of the performance, but it was not difficult and I was not out of breath. Most healthy grade school kids and adults will have no difficulties. They give everyone a password to get out if it becomes too intense — no one in our group used it. I would not hesitate to try if you are on the fence.
*Tuesday evening performances will be performed at a slower pace to accommodate patrons who might need extra time to make it through the experience and will last approximately 55 minutes.
Details: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Location: Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Dates: July 7, 2015 – August 23, 2015