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Show and Tell: The Dilemma of Humpty Dumpty

A breakdancing Humpty Dumpty? Just one twist in this amusing Mother Goose mash-up

Published on: March 04, 2014

Humpty DumptyHumpty Dumpty didn’t just fall off a wall. First, he had a dilemma – a job he didn’t like, a sleepy head, a mother with low expectations and a jealous neighbor. As Humpty works through his problems he encounters other Mother Goose characters in the clever and zany original play, The Dilemma of Humpty Dumpty, by local writer Tina La Plant showing at Youth Theatre Northwest on Mercer Island through March 16.

The young cast, ages 6–9, sings and dances through familiar rhymes while telling an unfamiliar story. Humpty Dumpty, played by Kai Dalton, would rather sleep than go to work on the king’s wall. To his dismay, the rooster awakens him, and his mother (Rachel Senn) sends him off to work admonishing, “Don’t fall off the wall.” Jack of the Hill (Kyra Bomberger) commiserates with the egg, saying his sister Jill always tells him not to run up the hill to fetch the pail of water. “They’re overprotective,” Jack of the Hill intones.

Humpty Dumpty also runs into Jack B. Nimble (Evan Otte) who, naturally, jumps over a candlestick. After a big buildup, Little Jack Horner (Tyler Patterson) tries but fails to make the leap, lamenting that he can’t because he’s got a plum stuck on his thumb. The audience gets to recite this rhyme with the cast, so be prepared!

The Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick Maker (Bomberger, Ava Loop, Julia Jung) rap their way through a funny rendition of “Three Men in a Tub.”

We learn that “Little Miss Muffett,” played by Loop, wasn’t the only one who was frightened in that infamous encounter with the spider over curds and whey. The spiders (two in this version) were scared, too. Chasten, Miss Muffett tries, to the amusement of the audience, to make amends, “I said I was sorry!”

You’ll be surprised to discover why Humpty Dumpty fell off that wall, and delighted when you see him break dancing. The costumes by Frances Ritter are imaginative, particularly those of the feathered blackbirds.

This is the first time on stage for half of the cast, and the actors are still learning their craft under the inspired direction of Zandi Carlson. Parents will enjoy some of the humorous lines that kids miss, such as the reference to Humpty as a “devil of an egg.”

Parents should know

Cramming Mother Goose before you go will make the play even more fun. Your kids will recognize their favorite characters and rhymes, and laugh over unexpected twists of their tales. After the show, the audience may ask questions. If you like, Humpty Dumpty will tell you how he gets up on that wall.


The theater is a 5-minute drive off I-90 on Mercer Island, and has plenty of parking. No refreshments are sold for this performance, and no food is allowed in the theater. The show is fast-paced and short, so it’s perfect for squirmy little ones.

Karin Davies loves to learn about the world with her family whether by watching a play, snorkeling in island waters or wandering through a science museum. She lives on Mercer Island, and dreams of being a nomad.

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