It's all happening down on the farm--at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, that is--in the musical puppet show, "Something to Crow About." A piano-playing potato accompanies crooning tomatoes, flowers dance on leafy legs, bumblebees sneeze and the farmer's wash cavorts in blacklight.
The theater and the show are almost 25 years old, and age is apparent both in the building's dingy concrete exterior and in the production's scratchy sound track. The theater rotates several shows a year--it's been five years since this one has seen the light of day.
But, never mind. Once the audience is seated inside, adults on folding chairs, children on the red carpet (this takes a while), the cozy atmosphere, plush curtains with gold braid, colorful lights, sets and costumes work their magic.
As always, the thin story takes second place to the beautifully crafted Bob Baker marionettes themselves, paraded, danced and whirled by the puppeteers into the audience. Children are thrilled by a fat bunny who "paints" noses with his artists' brush, scarecrows who perch on laps, and a sweet-faced daisy chased by an allergic bee.
Songs, sung by an amazing variety of flora and fauna, come from a different era. Wide-mouthed toads sing "Shine On Harvest Moon," a string bean delivers "The Object of My Affection" and a yellow-beaked bird in flapper garb does the Boop-Boop-Ba-Doop girl's version of "That's My Weakness Now."
A goose in yellow slicker and bright red boots belts out "Singing in the Rain" and the "Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch" is backed up by a chorus of sympathetic onions.
The show, not much over an hour, seems a little long. When the lights come up, however, enthusiasm returns. It's time for ice cream and a cookie and then a brief lecture in the fascinating puppet workshop, where the artistry--and the magic--begins.
Performances at 1345 West 1st St. play Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. through the summer. Monday through Friday performance times vary.