Such thoughts help pass the time as Closer hits speed bump after speed bump on the road, as the English would say, to rogering.

From R-rated bed-hoppers to G-rated bunnies as we hippity-skip to Dallas Children's Theater for The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter's classic story of a misbehaving bunny-boy has been adapted into lighthearted musical form by DCT's resident composer B. Wolf. Yes, the Wolf has had her way with the family of rabbits, and the result is a family-friendly 90 minutes of pure entertainment starring 25 puppets from the Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts.

Just don't think of this as a puppet show. This is an enormous main-stage production incorporating large marionettes, rod puppets, hand puppets and a garden full of gigundo, puppetized vegetables (the tomatoes vamp like Mae West, and there's a Sally Field of onions crying, "You like me!").

Jessica Layman and Chad Halbrook don’t get anywhere close to turning up the heat onstage.
Jessica Layman and Chad Halbrook don’t get anywhere close to turning up the heat onstage.
Closer continues through April 18 at Teatro Dallas. Call 972-754-2672.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit continues through April 19 at Dallas Childrenís Theater. Call 214-740-0051.

On yet another exquisite set by DCT's scenic designer Randel Wright—his scenery at this theater always offers eye-popping magical surprises—Peter, Mopsy, Flopsy and others gambol through a sunny meadow one moment and retreat into their cozy warren home the next. (Watch how seamlessly the puppeteers make the transition from stringed to rod-operated figures.)

Grown-ups might detect some subtle pro-vegan propaganda in the narrative of how curiosity about Mr. MacGregor's garden turned Peter's daddy into rabbit pie. The simpler lesson for children concerns minding mother's rules and not succumbing to temptation. (Peter sneaks out and almost gets his cottontail in a sling.)

Master puppeteers Douglass Burks and Sally Fiorello co-directed Peter Rabbit. Trish Long, Derik Webb, Melissa Cashion, Caleb W. Massey and Ziggy Renner bring the puppets to life onstage, with voices provided by Fiorello, Becky Burks Keenan, Deborah Brown and Lisa Schreiner.

And as the only human among the flora and fauna, Ben Brantley makes a fee-fie-foe-funny Farmer MacGregor. Chasing Peter around the garden, Brantley manages to seed his scenes with double-takes and goofy gestures that seem inspired by classic Warner Bros. cartoons, plus some Stooges and Simpsons. He gets the most laughs in the only role in the show that comes with no strings attached.

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