Kid +1 Review: Alligator Pie (Soulpepper)

photo of cast of alligator pie

A fun show for parents and kids, Alligator Pie is playing at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts

I’ve been enchanted with Dennis Lee‘s book of poem’s Alligator Pie since I was little. So has my son. That means the performance of poems by Lee that has once again taken the stage at Soulpepper, also called Alligator Pie, has a lot to live up to, for both of us.

And it does.

Max, my four-and-three-quarters year old son, and I loved the singing and romping and make-shift instruments that showcased the well-loved poems in a different light than our usual bedtime recitals. That said, the knowledge of the poems is certainly not a must, because there’s a lot of action on that stage, and it’s a great way to introduce kids to a Canadian icon.

This probably isn’t what most folks think of when they’re going to a ‘play’. Sure there is a bit of a premise, five kids make their way into an attic and play make believe with what they find there, but really, that part wasn’t that important to Max. You kind of have to stretch your imagination to figure out that’s what’s happening anyway. In fact, I’m just assuming that’s what was happening, I could be totally way off base.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the rapt attention from a room full of little kids. The “ooohs” and “aahhhhs”. The talented singing. The fun movement. The whispered “whoa…” when the lights are ‘blown out’.

We went to a one o’clock show. The place was packed, which turns out is a theme, the run has been sold out so buy your tickets in advance, and a lot of the people in the room were kids, little kids. I saw a whole lot of kids in the two to four year old range. I don’t know the last time you tried to keep the attention of both adults AND toddlers, but, well, it’s no easy task. These folks did it beautifully.

Max really loved it too. He found the number of people a bit daunting at first. As we walked into the theatre he whispered to me “can I sit on your lap?” But, other than my leg being asleep the entire show, there was no problem with having him on my knee. When I asked him about his favourite parts they surprised me. I expected them to have to do with bubble wrap, or a beautiful rainbow of confetti.

But, actually, they had to do with light, or, lack thereof. Last year when we saw the piece he was terrified when the lights went out. This year he loved it. This year when floating balls of light appeared he gasped and said it was beautiful and implored me to look. Interestingly, last year I expected that it would be his favourite part because I saw it before taking him to it (yes, this is the third time I have seen this production) but it scared him. I assumed this year he would remember the fear and not like it. Kids are full of surprises.

Bottom line though, I think this show is wonderful. I love it. I love it as a show for adults, and I love it as a show for kids. There is only one evening show this run, it’s Friday November 29, 2013 and when I last checked, there were actually some tickets still available for the show. I HIGHLY recommend booking them ASAP. Unfortunately at the time of writing this, both shows this weekend are sold out, save for one ticket on Sunday at 1pm.

Actually, if you want to sit next to the person you’re going with, based on the online ticketing system it seems as though Friday November 29th is your only option at this point. They have a daytime show and the evening one. A good day to play hookie with your kids perhaps?

Kid or adult, pretty much any age range, I highly recommend checking this show out. I really hope that Soulpepper decides to bring it back.


  • Alligator Pie runs until December 1, 2013 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts (Distillery District)
  • Shows run: Sunday November 17 and 24 at 2:00 and 5:00; Friday November 29 at 1:30 and 7:30; Saturday November 30 at 1:30; and Sunday December 1 at 2:00 and 5:00
  • Tickets are $23 and are available online, or through the box office at 416-866-8666

Photo of Raquel Duffy, Ins Choi, Mike Ross, Ken MacKenzie & Gregory Prest by Cylla von Tiedemann