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Lyle Finds His Mother: Press
March 22 – April 27, 2014 (No performances April 20)
Saturdays & Sundays at 11am & 1pm
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From New City

March 24, 2014
By Nora Durkin


If the best way to determine the success of a children’s play is by the quiet smiling faces of its audience, then Lifeline Theatre’s performance of "Lyle Finds His Mother" hits its mark. A story of a domesticated crocodile in search of his wild crocodile mother provides a sensitive lens with which to explore adopted family dynamics. Director Dorothy Milne and playwright Jessica Wright Buha, in her debut adaption for the company, transform Bernard Warber’s somewhat plodding 1974 book into a singing, dancing, juggling, hula-hooping, jump-roping, gymnastic showcase for five dynamic performers.

Speaking only squeaky crocodile, with the occasional English soliloquy, Anthony Kayer’s Lyle, in his frumpy green crocodile costume, is probably enough to keep most childrens’ eyes glued to the stage. Lyle’s best friend Josh (Brian Tochterman Jr.) is the perfect id-free 8 year old whose broad, gangly movements welcome the actual 8 year-olds into the world of the stage. Strong performances by Linsey Falls, Deanna Myers and Erin O’Shea provide the movement of the plot and highlight the more poignant aspects of this progressive children’s book.

There’s more than enough humor to keep the laughs rolling, but not at the expense of the more subtle, emotional aspects of the story. Particularly moving is a late scene in which the two mothers come face to face and realize their shared experience of loving their crocodile son. While this moment lingers, it is saved from sappiness by the highly animated Falls and his mad dash between characters up to the final curtain. With a brisk one-hour running time, my 3 year-old only broke his concentration to ask when Lyle would be back on stage.

From the Chicago Reader

March 25, 2014
By Suzanne Scanlon


At the start of this delightful musical adaptation of Bernard Waber's beloved 1974 book, Lyle the crocodile, a retired vaudevillian who can still turn cartwheels and dance a mean soft shoe, lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his best friend, Joshua, and the exceedingly happy Mr. and Mrs. Primm. Lyle teaches Joshua crocodile language, and Josh challenges Lyle to a kazoo battle. All is well until the sneaky has-been Hector P. Valenti, onetime "star of stage and screen," lures Lyle back into show business. Valenti's schemings eventually lead Lyle to his crocodile mother, and one of the many highlights here is an adorable acrobatic mother-son reunion song and dance. Lifeline knows how to please kids and grown-ups with multileveled humor, and this show celebrates springtime, mothers, and (not least of all) idiosyncrasy.

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