Powerpuff Girls, other Toon icons at Big Dome Dec. 28 to Jan. 3

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo -
If you are among those who enjoy watching those colorful, zany and lovable cartoon characters and their merry adventures on television, how would you like to see them in the flesh – that is, not in animation form – as they perform live their wacky antics on stage, and at Christmastime at that?

I am sure you will be incredulous at first but still tickled pink, won’t you?

And if it is the stars of the immensely popular cartoon series Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYummy from Cartoon Network who will act together in one big show, it will truly be a fantastic and unforgettable treat because of the magical experience it will afford fans of all ages in their face-to-face encounter with their idols.

The interesting thing about cartoon shows is that their popularity transcends ages and generations. While they are generally tailored for the viewing pleasure of young audiences, they have also attracted a big following among adult viewers (including Funfare occasionally) who watch them as an escapist form of entertainment to evade reality – even momentarily in a 30-minute episode – and forget the woes and travails of everyday life.

Their simple, down-to-earth plots and subplots, colorful characters, fast pace and happy ending combine with the subliminal and universal theme of love towards others, peace and understanding, and triumph of good over evil, to imbue these shows great entertainment value, making them ideal TV entertainment fare for the whole family – both the young ones and the young once.

The glad tidings for cartoon fans this coming Christmas season is that these amazing toon icons will not only leap from the TV screen to the theater stage but will be coming to Manila to bring a sleigh-ful of holiday entertainment through a world-class theatrical production to be staged from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

Billed as Cartoonival! Cartoon Network Live!, the one-week musical-action extravaganza to be mounted by Solar Entertainment Corp. is the latest leg in the multi-city Asian tour of the first-ever live action, fully, scripted, full scale theatrical show produced by Cartoon Network.

In two magical acts, the 90-minute show boasts a visually exciting, fast-paced, participatory and hilarious performance that features lots of action, dance, dazzling lights and groovy pop music.

It features a powerhouse cast topbilled by Cartoon Network’s best-loved animated characters from four of its original cartoons, namely Bubbles, Blossom, Buttercup and Mojo Jojo (Powerpuff Girls), Dexter and Dee Dee (Dexter’s Laboratory), Mae, Bloo, Eduardo, Coco and Wilt (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), and Ami and Yumi (Hi Hi Puffy AmiYummy) who will be portrayed as costume characters.

The live actors are Barnaby B. Brightly and various carnival helpers.

As a backgrounder, the Powerpuff Girls cartoon series is about three tough yet cute and sassy sisters who celebrate the spirit, attitude and style of today’s modern girls. With their gift of superpowers, Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup are all set to fight crime and evil forces.

Dexter’s Laboratory
, on the other hand, celebrates the power of the brains and intellect through the exploits of an eight-year-old boy genius, Dexter, who uses his gift and his science laboratory filled with advanced equipment in living the fantasy of world domination.

You will groove to the beat of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYummy, the series about a fantasy rock band that embraces the world of pop rock stardom and whose members work together to maintain their relationships as best friends in the high adventure, fast-paced hyper-kinetic rock ‘n roll world.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
is the series about a haven for children who outgrow their imaginary friends. It centers on the tale of one particular resident called Bloo, who finds himself without a friend when his creator, a boy called Mac, was forced by his mother to give him up. Bloo ends up at Madame Foster’s house, where he finds many new and exciting friends.

They come together in the musical extravaganza Cartoonival, which revolves around the story of a crazy, wild carnival run by the Cartoon Network stars with the audience performing as "guests" who are shown around by Barnaby B. Brightly, the keeper of the key to the carnival. A threat comes from resident baddie Mojo Jojo who has a secret plan to get his hands on the key and take over the carnival.

Throughout the one-and-a-half hour production, the spectators are expected to experience Cartoon Network first-hand like never before, leaving them feeling delighted and thrilled with the show’s authentic interactive feature and integrated audience participation.

The first act features the Powerpuff Girls as they run the classic Knock Em Down sideshow game where they give the audience a chance to throw balls to knock down the cans on stage, an act that is guaranteed to sow bedlam and fun in the scene with rubber balls flying everywhere.

There are also scenes where all the characters appear together on stage to perform some synchronized dancing and, at certain points of the show, ran into the audience and drive the kids into a frenzy.

Since its world premiere in Kuala Lumpur last June, Cartoonival has scored a big hit with audiences in the various Asian cities it has toured with its heady mix of music, dance and humor, as well as special effects and lavish stage props.

It has consistently earned rave reviews from entertainment writers who have lauded the show for having "all the compelling ingredients to engage and enthrall young fans."

Although Cartoon Network’s toon icons have earlier performed live to a packed audience and entertained thousands of kids in many countries, this is the first time that they have come together to stage a rip-roaring, rib-tickling production.

With its enchanting music, fabulous dancing, dazzling lights and lavish production that translate into endless fun, Cartoonival could very well be the ultimate funfest for the entertainment of kids and the whole family during the Christmas holiday season.

(Tickets are priced at P1,550, P1,250, P950 and P550 and are available at Ticketnet outlets at SM Department Stores and at the Araneta Coliseum box office, or call Ticketnet at 991-5555. Special sales discount are available for those who will buy their tickets on or before Nov. 19, such as family package (buy five tickets and get one free) and early-bird discount (10 percent). For group sales discount or corporate sales discount, call 816-1566 and ask for Joseph Silva.)

(E-mail reactions at [email protected])

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