So awhile back, feels like an eternity, I discovered the Winnie the Pooh musical on Instagram and immediately started following them. This show looked absolutely adorable – the puppets – and I was jealous that I could not see it. Slowly the show has been touring in other locations and I was beyond excited when they announced they were coming to California and I could finally see it!
The show is playing at the small but intimate Kirk Douglas theatre in Culver City. I love that area of Culver City, mostly for the epic all romance bookstore, The Ripped Bodice. My husband was the one who got us the tickets, up in the balcony, which sounds a lot higher than it was because, as I said, it was a small theater.
I loved the intimate nature of it. I’ve really only seen shows at Pantages, which is HUGE, and the La Mirada theater, which is still fairly sizable. It was a gloomy, rainy day and the small lobby was warm and full of people excited to see Pooh and the gang. There was merch available – I grabbed a tour shirt that is so soft and comfortable – and a place to take photos. They also offered some themed beverages, a couple of them of the alcoholic variety. I was tempted but we attended the 11 am matinee show and 1030 am felt a bit too early for a drink haha. I did try a drink called Teddy Bear Juice which was a warm drink with apple juice, honey and lemon. It was honestly so delicious!
The theatre was SO nice and small. We had the first two seats up in the balcony and it was perfect. I have sensory issues with people being too close to me and don’t often like sitting next to other people and this was so great. It had an unobstructed view and offered me the privacy and space that I need. The crowd was a mix of couples around my age and families with little kids. Seeing as Winnie the Pooh is one, if not the most, popular Disney character and it showed in the audience. I actually really loved all the children in the audience; they get such joy from the simplest things and the musical was so joyous with the giggles throughout.
The musical itself was SO awesome. It was short and sweet; only sixty minutes. The story was both familiar and new. There were elements from the original three films (the ones that became the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), there were some elements of the books and there were things that felt brand new. But it all felt so authentically Winnie the Pooh. It made me laugh and it made me tear up and I literally had a huge smile on my face the entire time. It felt so lighthearted and easy and I found myself singing along through most of it. The set was simple but adorable and I felt transported immediately. I’m not entirely sure but I am pretty sure they were pumping in some sort of scent. I couldn’t name it but I truly felt like I was in the One Hundred Acre Wood. I felt calm and at peace for the first time in awhile and the musical reminded me, yet again, why I love Winnie the Pooh so much. They are such simplistic stories that so many people can relate to, about love and friendship and bravery and happiness. The musical truly captured everything that makes that silly ol’ bear so wonderful.
What I was honestly and truly impressed by was the puppetry! I was worried that I might pay attention too much to the puppeteers animating the characters but I honestly didn’t. I was so captivated by the puppets and how they used them that I truly saw them as the characters. I was looking at Pooh and Piglet and Tigger and Roo and Eeyore and the whole gang. They truly came alive on stage and I was mesmerized and delighted by it. There were so many moments that were just so funny and worked so well with the puppets. I was especially in love with the Piglet and Eeyore puppets. They felt SO real to me. There were also smaller elements like bees or flowers, birds and leaves, brought to life by the cast and it just felt…enchanting and magical. It was a short show but it truly felt magical and I imagined…well if it felt magical to me, as a 34 year old woman, I can only imagine how enchanting it was for a child.
I am so glad I got the chance to see the musical. I am a huge Winnie the Pooh fan and a huge fan of musicals in general. I had been wanting to see this show for so long and it was worth the wait, for sure. I wish I could see it again; I know I would enjoy it the second time just as much as the first time. And I wouldn’t say no to some of that teddy bear juice! I highly recommend going to see it, if you haven’t had a chance to and you live in the Los Angeles area. It is nice to have a moment of peace and magical and plain fun and to escape the real world for a world of imagination. The only thing I super wish is that we’d been able to get the VIB (very important bear) tickets, where you could take photos with those incredible puppets after the show. I was quite jealous of those who got to do that. I truly was so impressed and enchanted by those puppets!
The show is playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City until December 30th! There are definitely tickets on sale so definitely go check it out before it’s too late. If you’re not local, definitely check out their website as they’re heading to many other states in the first few months of the year, and they’ll even be heading to the UK! Take advantage and go see this wonderful show!