Carolyn Johnson and Helen Dawkins met as clowns more than two decades ago and they're still pulling in the laughs.
The pair, more commonly known as Ms. Poly and Ms. Ester, head up the popular Carolina Puppet Theatre.
For more than a decade, they've performed their mix of puppets, songs and stories at the Kazoom Children's Theatre at Comedy Worx on Peace Street in downtown Raleigh. You'll find them there at 10 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday mornings and, in the fall, on select Saturdays and afternoons. Tickets are $4.
And a few years ago, they also began performing regularly at Holly Springs Cultural Center on the first and third Tuesday at 10 a.m. I've been to at least one show that was completely sold out. Tickets are $5.
This isn't a sit in your seat kind of show, which is a good thing because Poly and Ester cater to toddlers to about third graders. The show themes change monthly and offer plenty of opportunities for kids to join in.
Ms. Poly will encourage you to get up out of your seat to dance along to a song. And there's always a story where as many kids as there are costumes for can get up on stage and be a character. July's show is "The Three LIttle Fishies."
Bartlet, the yellow-haired, green-faced "superstar," is always a highlight with his preschooler-like pronunciations and his love of the Hurricanes and himself. If you go, don't forget to have your kids make a picture or note for Bartlet, which you can put in the mailbox on stage to be read and generally praised during the show.
We've been to the show many times since my now five-year-old was about two. She loves it. It's been fun to watch her go from the timid toddler too afraid to go up on stage to the confident five-year-old ready to jump right up there.
And if you think your mind might numb with the hundredth version of classics such as The Gingerbread Man or The Three Little Pigs (which are both featured stories during the year), never fear. Poly and Ester mix it up with a slightly different take.
In fact, you'll find plenty to laugh about during the show as Ms. Poly, who talks with the puppets, mixes in jokes that the adults will appreciate more than the kids.
Carolina Puppet Theatre offers birthday party packages and visits day cares.
For all the details, visit carolinapuppets.com and check out the video for an interview with the two and a look at the show.