The word of the day is “fun” according to Pee-wee and the audience definitely agrees with him. Every time the word is uttered, everyone on the stage and in the audience begins screaming and shouting and even when the actual word is not spoken, the giddy atmosphere in the theater speaks for itself. After a hit television show and several movies, Pee-wee Herman is back onstage bringing fun to everyone seeking it.
Created by Paul Reubens, the character of Pee-wee is a sexually ambiguous man-child, poking fun at family values and children’s entertainment. Originating onstage in Los Angeles, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” then moved to television where it ran for five seasons. Then and now it remains more entertaining for adults than children, peppered with double-entendres and sexual jokes that the younger audience members will remain oblivious to.
David Korins’ set is a faithful re-creation of the original by Gary Panter, with Jeff Crotier’s lighting, Jake Pinholster’s projections and puppets by Basil Twist. Fans of the television show will delight in the stage production which features several characters from the show including the Mailman (John Moody), Jambi the Genie (John Paragon) and Miss Yvonne, (Lynne Marie Stewart) “the most beautiful woman in Puppetland.” (There is a new addition of a talking Sham Wow). Pee-wee’s signature dance is performed and the traditions of the show are maintained.
There isn’t actually much of a plot to the show, other than Pee-wee’s desire to wire the playhouse for internet and go online, much to his current friends’ concern. He also longs to fly, a common dream for many children. Other than that, the briskly paced ninety-minute show is merely a collection of old friends and memories. Fans of the show will no doubt be pleased but if you weren’t a fan before, you probably won’t be converted now.