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If you take your children to "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," you just might enjoy yourself.

For one thing, this Salt Lake Acting Company children's theater production will hold kids' interest for almost an hour. Which is no small accomplishment for any form of entertainment.

It's also the sort of light-hearted show parents can have fun with, both by watching the play and watching their kids watch the play.

Based on the children's book by Laura Joffe Numeroff, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" is about Boy (Michael Gardner), who's left home alone. But he's not alone for long — Mouse (Dustin Bolt) shows up, and Boy complies when he asks for a cookie.

Big mistake. With a bit of a sugar high, Mouse is soon making life difficult for Boy, leading him into bigger trouble and messier messes.

"I hate to be a bother," says Mouse, who is just exactly that. Over and over again.

It's the sort of silly slapstick kids love. The audience of kindergarten and second-grade students from Lincoln Elementary School who attended on Thursday morning ate it up.

Again, not exactly the easiest group to keep in their seats, let alone keep entertained.

Gardner and Bolt do a fine job, however. Under the direction of Penelope Marantz Caywood, they perform for the kids without condescending to them.

The three of them clearly capture a kid's world. How brooms can become light sabers, and then horses. How a boy can let things get out of control even though he knows his mom is going to be mad when she gets home.

How it's serious and hilarious at the same time.

And Caywood, Gardner and Bolt have choreographed the two characters' moves to amuse and delight the audience. Not just the dances, but everything that's happening onstage.

Make no mistake. In this case, the term "children's theater" doesn't mean anything less than what an adult could expect from SLAC. Bolt and Gardner are members of Actors Equity, and the production is top-notch.

They wisely didn't go overboard on the mouse costume. Bolt wears a backward baseball cap with ears attached and a tail, and the rest is up to the imagination.

The set — the kitchen in Boy's house — is built on a bigger-than-life scale so that Boy looks like, well, a boy in comparison. Which also fascinated the young audience.

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" is a fine introduction to live theater for kids. And a great outing for their parents.

'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie'

Kids and parents will enjoy this SLAC production.

When •Reviewed Thursday, Dec. 2; continues Dec. 3-5, 9-12, 16-23 and 26; weekdays 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; weekends noon and 3 p.m.

Where • Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $25 adults/$15 children at the box office or at

Running time • 52 minutes (no intermission)