Poodleful Review


Riverside Theatre

This playful and visually stylish musical for children and their families, reminds us again and again “You’re never too small to make a difference.”  That’s certainly true for the tiny chocolate poodle Pansy who begins the story in the San Francisco animal shelter, dreaming about a home and someone to love. That’s just what happens when a little girl, named Avery, meets Pansy, falls in love with her and whisks her home in a limo to the Beverly Hill Palace Hotel.

All is well and Pansy settles in, learning you don’t have to change who you are to fit in someplace new. Then, a shocking robbery occurs. Someone steals Gilda Goldleaf’s brand new, humongous diamond. Neither the police nor a detective can crack the case.  But, by using her brilliant canine sense of smell, tiny Pansy scents out the diamond and tracks down the too-suave thief. And Avery is right there helping her.

Ken Clifton’s lyrical, danceable, original music covers the full gamut of human emotion and weaves the story together. Dusty Terrell’s scenic design is perfect. Visually, each scene is composed like a painting. Terrell balances each scene’s physical pieces so it feels just right. And her instantaneous changing of sets is as smooth as butter.

J. Salisbury choreographs and directs this talented cast of six. They are so vibrant and funny with lots of little throwaway lines (a la Rocky & Bullwinkle) that work for kids and adults alike. Samantha Cho Grossman as Pansy and Sean Potter, playing four different characters, are especially fine.

“Poodleful!” was inspired by the children’s book, “Pansy at the Palace: A Beverly Hills Mystery,” by author, Cynthia Bardes of Vero Beach.

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