OREM — SCERA’s The Three Little Pigs is a fun show for kids, though lacking in parental luster. I enjoyed the set, costumes, and acting, especially the audience interaction. I was disappointed with the moral focus of the story line, and the music, though catchy, could have been a touch more interesting and less repetitive.

Show closes February 21, 2020.

The set was elaborate for a simple story, and it was fun to see the over-the-top creations of each pig house. Shawn Herrera was the mind behind the vacation-like straw hut, stick hut, and the cozy brick house. There was also the pig bedroom with three-level bunk bed, and I loved how the actors used that space during a nightmare, climbing all over it in a tizzy. The backdrops were also cartoon trees that enhanced the kid-like atmosphere of the show. I also enjoyed the costumes and how they weren’t in pig costume, but dressed as people in various shades of pink. Deborah Bowman designed the costumes, and I most liked the wigs on the two female pigs.

As director and choreographer, DeLayne Dayton did a phenomenal job with pulling out the best possible performances from her actors. The narrator, Tanner Perkins, was superb at jumping from side character to side character throughout his narration, and finally playing the Big Bad Wolf. I loved his accents and how he set up the audience for each character. For example, as he was about to play the second member of a family of sellers, he lifted his hat to tell the audience “Yes, it’s me.” I also loved his hilarious bug-eyed Thomas Toad character who ends up buying Mrs. Pig’s house. (Bowman got the perfect round glasses for that character.) Dayton’s use of the levels and space, and of how the pigs moved on the bunk bed, was great work that kept the show visually engaging.

Photo by Rachael Gibson.

I also enjoyed the performance of the actors playing the three sibling pigs: Chelsea (played by Brandi Washburn), Max (played by Kevin Bigler), and Carli (played by Caitlin Schillemat). Washburn had a fun energy about her and even did a dance leap after expressing herself. Bigler was enjoyable to watch perform and was adept at getting the kids to participate in the movements and repetitive parts. He had high energy during the dances, and I especially liked his performance during the dance for the song “I’ll Have It All,” a memorable part of David Paul Smith‘s score. Schillemat was good at playing the smart, caring sibling while still wanting to have fun and play. It was cool to see how she could incorporate it all into her character and helped show how to be a well-rounded individual, which I think was helpful for the kids in the audience.

Photo by Rachael Gibson.

I was disappointed with Chase Ramsey‘s script because it reminded me a lot of the movie The Village, but with the opposite moral conclusion. (It is hard to say more without revealing any spoilers.) The pigs’ mother was hypocritical in her teaching of telling the pigs “life is better when we do it together” as she kicks them out of the family home. If she wanted peace and cleanliness, she could have found without kicking them out. In the end, the only reason the pigs learned anything from the experience was because they “understood.” Many children (including my own 6-year-old) watching The Three Little Pigs will see the manipulation and not wish to be controlled through fear. The mom’s excuse for her behavior throughout the play was that the kids needed to learn between good and bad. But this was a worthless way to teach them, as it would make them resent her.

There is still some entertainment value in The Three Little Pigs. The dancing was fun and varied, the acting was thorough, and the visual style of the show was exciting. Families who attend should be prepared to have a chat afterwards about the characters and the intrinsic value of helping and respecting each other.

The Three Little Pigs plays Mondays and Fridays at 7 PM through February 21 at the SCERA Center for the Arts (745 South State Street, Orem). Tickets are $4-6. For more information, visit www.scera.org.

This review was supported by a generous grant from the Orem CARE program.