Larry Mantle |

Shutting kids out

Thursday morning on AirTalk, we asked listeners what they thought of the growing trend of restaurants and airlines excluding young kids altogether, or limiting where they can be.  Malaysian Airlines bars infants from first-class, while a Pennsylvania restaurant has decided to ban kids under the age of six.  My wife and I enjoy a local restaurant that regularly features jazz, but doesn’t allow kids.

I was surprised by the overwhelming percentage of listeners who supported the bans.  Very few called in to challenge restaurant patrons to be more tolerant of children’s behavior.

Though it’s an unscientific sample, it represents many people who’ve had enough of kids acting out publicly, without parents taking action.  I’m sure you’ve seen examples of both excellent and deficient parenting in public places.  It’s unfortunate that some airlines and restaurants feel they have to consider this action to protect their environments for other customers.  However, many of our listeners clearly want to see the practice expanded.  What do you think?

On the subject of kids, I took my 10-year-old son, Desmond, to the opening of Shrek The Musical on Wednesday at the Pantages Theater.  Desmond’s a fan of the first Shrek animated film, to which this stage production hews pretty closely.  However, here there are expanded back-stories for Shrek and Fiona.  Seeing the ogre and princess as kids adds to their characters and provides some funny parent-child moments.

It’s a strong cast, as you’d expect in a show with this pedigree.  However, Alan Mingo, Jr. as Donkey, and Carrie Compere in three roles, are particular crowd-pleasers.  Compere’s singing Dragon is a powerhouse.

As in the better animated movies, Shrek The Musical works on dual levels.  You’ve got offbeat fairytale characters, physical humor, and gross ogre jokes for the kids (and their parents).  There are double entendres and spoofs of the greatest hits of musical theater for the adults.

Overall, this is a fun production that shows you can add singing and dancing to popular characters without it being a simple retread of the source material.  Shrek The Musical stands well on its own.