Review: Red Yarn’s “The Deep Woods” Pilot

The Clinton Street Theater was an appropriate venue for the sold-out premiere of the pilot episode of Red Yarn’s The Deep Woods, funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, on Saturday December 6th. Like the theater’s midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, kindie musician Red Yarn has developed quite the cult following. And it’s easy to see why. Red Yarn (aka musician and educator Andy Fergeson) has a folksy, easy manner that makes fans of all ages feel instantly welcome. Combine that with a twangy voice, expressive movements, and a few puppets and you’ve got yourself a kindie sensation.

In the pilot episode, which builds off of Red Yarn’s popular local act, Red Yarn travels to the magical puppet world of The Deep Woods. There he encounters puppet animals from American folksong lore, including Bob the Rabbit, Froggy of Froggy Went a Courting, and more than half a dozen others. While in the woods, Red Yarn learns that these puppet animals will cease to exist if the songs they are featured in are forgotten. Thus, Red Yarn and his ragtag crew of puppets move into his basement and form a traveling band so that the songs – and the animals – can live on.

The highlights of the show were the song-length performances featuring Red Yarn and his puppets. The pilot featured three of these. Rattlesnake, which can be seen below; Turkey in the Straw, and Bob the Rabbit.

Each song was masterfully performed by a dedicated team of puppeteers. They are whimsical, energetic, funny, and also just pretty to look at. Interspersed among these videos are a few somewhat disjointed scenes including Red Yarn in his basement studio and a live show at The Village Ballroom.

The pilot is the culmination of a year of hard work on the part of Andy and his team. The hard work shows. The puppets, scenery, song choice, and energy of the performers all come together to form something more than a little magical.

The Deep Woods is available for $12 at Red Yarn shows. Other pieces from the pilot will be released over the coming months on Red Yarn’s YouTube page. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter for more news and updates, including news about how to support a second episode.

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at www.runknitlove.com.
Ali Wilkinson
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