Live Show Review: Thomas and Friends Live! on Stage: a Circus Comes to Town

originally reviewed on Tree, Root, and Twig

Several weeks ago I was given the opportunity by MomSelect to secure a family 4-pack of tickets to see Thomas and Friends Live! on Stage: a Circus Comes to Town.

While it was an incredibly generous offer, my younger son is too young to know Thomas and my older son is too old to like him much anymore. Besides, the schedule of shows didn’t include the Houston metro area. BUT…it did include Portland, Oregon – my old hometown.

It took me a minute to consider who back in Oregon might truly appreciate these tickets. And then it came to me. I had recently seen the following slideshow on my friend Rachel’s site:

Now, if that’s not a Thomas the Tank fan, I don’t know who is! (and isn’t he just so stinking cute??)

I was able to get the tickets to Rachel and her family, and they attended the show last week. I’d love if you could give a warm Tree, Root, and Twig welcome to my Western Correspondent (as I’m jokingly referring to her now), Rachel, as she gives us all a thoughtful, thorough review of Thomas and Friends:

(From Rachel:)

The folks at Thomas & Friends know what your preschooler wants and they deliver!Clapping, chugging, and singing along with Thomas?Check.Trains that look and sound like the characters kids know and love?Check.Exaggerated, silly humor?Check.Balloons, puppetry farm animals, and a flurry of chicken feathers round out the list of Everything A Toddler Could Ask For in a Musical.

The cast includes all of the must-see characters (Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon, Sir Topham Hatt, and the helicopter Harold) plus townspeople of Sodor and three entertaining circus performers (a clown, a strong man, and a ballerina-ish acrobat).Characters are captivating with the perfect balance of peppiness to delight children but not annoy accompanying adults.The soundtrack includes a good mix of familiar Thomas tunes with new songs created for the musical.

Sure, the plot is contrived and at times the storyline drags; nevertheless, an intermission provides the necessary stretch break, during which parents are surprisingly not bombarded with high-priced Thomas merchandise and carnival foods.Not that the food and merchandise aren’t high-priced, patrons just aren’t bombarded.

The preschool portion of the audience at the performance I attended skewed male, but the girls seemed to enjoy themselves equally as much.No doubt the pirouetting ballerina acrobat is included for this very reason.

As for seating, the venue I visited offered three tiers of ticket prices.I sat at the front of the cheap seats, which was good enough for my boys, ages five and almost-two.My boys started to get antsy before intermission; however, had the action been a bit more in-our-face, I think they could have held out all the way.Middle price tier tickets would have been just fine.Note: The performance I attended was far from sold out and it was obvious who bought their tickets online vs. phone/ticket counter.There were clusters of the audience with every seat filled, but my nearest neighbor in any direction was 10+ seats away, a perk well worth the effort of talking to a live person!

In short, Thomas Live is a winner!My kids LOVED it.And if you’re the kind of parent who can let loose, clap, and cluck with your kid, you’ll love the big smile on your little child’s face. On the other hand, if the only R&R you can think of has nothing to do with a railroad, enlist extended family – this is the perfect grandparent outing – and enjoy a few quiet hours to yourself.