Noticing how much C loved the puppets at GrassRoots Festival, when I stumbled on Kazoom Puppet Theatre's website on the Internet, I decided we would go.
Living in Chapel Hill, driving to downtown Raleigh with a kid can seem a little intimidating. But I assure you, the drive was very easy. Kazoom is on the corner of Peace Street and West Street, a block away from Glenwood Ave. In the ComedyWorx building (there is no sign outside for Kazoom), it was a simple drive with very little turns. Which, for someone like me who is scared of the one-way streets in downtown Raleigh, that worked out nicely.
I even got Sarah C. and D to join us. And we had such a good time! On the particular day we went, there was barely anyone in the crowd. Kazoom offers at least 2 shows on performance days (details below). Sometimes the line can be out the door to get in, but sometimes there are smaller crowds as on the day we went. Either way, the atmosphere here is very relaxed. Kids can crawl, walk, sing, dance, and otherwise meander around without anyone minding. This is about kids having fun, in whichever way they choose. Which I appreciated.
The performers were very good. Sometimes the banter was a little on the adult-side. Nothing inappropriate of course, but just too complex for the kids so they were losing interest. But it made me laugh, which amounts to parental enjoyment here as well. And I have a hunch the performers were doing that because of the audience they had that particular day. And, of course, they always came back to the kids.
The songs and puppets were so cute and engaging. Kazoom changes themes and puppets frequently, so you can take the kids over and over again without it getting stale. The theme when we went was 'Bullfrogs and Butterflies.' One little girl was enthralled with the butterfly puppets and C couldn't get enough of the caterpillar. The performers were very interactive with the kids, asking some to come up to participate in the fairytale of the day (The Gingerbread Man).
If you go, take mail for Bartlett. Every show the puppet Bartlett checks his mail from the audience. They love getting mail, and it helps add to the show's experience overall.
Check the website (below) for show times and availabilities. They offer 2 shows (10 am and 11 am) on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but do sometimes take breaks or cancel because someone gets sick. So you want to check before you go. Also, they are adding shows on Wednesday afternoons and occasional weekends to accommodate the preschool crowd. But, again, check before going. It is $4 for anyone over 12 months. They also offer birthday party services.
Because this is a comedy bar, it is not kid-proofed or a kid-oriented facility. But you're only there for a short show, so it wasn't too big of a deal.
Sarah C. and I paired this outing with dining al fresco at Mellow Mushroom, but there are lots of dining options right around the corner on Glenwood. (There are also a lot of lounges and bars that look fun and new since I last went out at night, so I guess Sarah C. and I will have to get back to Raleigh one night sans babies!) But either way, you and your kids will most likely enjoy this Raleigh offering.
Carolina Puppets Kazoom!
431 Peace Street