The best intermission in town is at Children's Theatre Company's ebullient "Corduroy."
Technically, it may not count as an intermission, since the show continues through much of it. By the end of the slapstick comedy's first act, a large mess has accumulated, including piles of slippery shaving cream.
As the intermission begins, two wordlessly cheerful mannequins, played by Meredith "Mimi" Kol-Balfour and Keegan Robinson, slide onstage to tidy up. Breaking the rules of theater, they also encourage audience members to hop on stage to help, which is surprisingly fun for the helpers and for those who are just watching.
Theatergoers get actively involved in "Corduroy" in a variety of ways. Besides the cleanup, the befuddled characters often look to the audience for a little help. There's also a magnificent moment that is so slyly inventive that you may not even notice how director Peter Brosius has placed four distinct elements on four different parts of the stage, then rapidly shined lights on each of them in an effort to encourage us to figure out how they're connected, a technique that almost exactly duplicates what editing does in the movies.
Based on Don Freeman's books, "Corduroy" is one of the CTC shows designed to appeal to very young audiences, and it's a dandy one. The title character is a teddy bear who is missing a button on his overalls and who is played by Dean Holt, in what is literally a baggy-pants role. Its dialogue consists only of two words ("button" and "friend"), but somebody ought to write a master's thesis about the astonishing variety of line readings Holt concocts for "button," from desperate to winsome to heartsick to purely joyful.
Early in the show, a girl named Lisa (Ileri Okikiolu) falls for Corduroy when she spots him on a department store shelf, but her mom doesn't have the money to purchase him. From then on, the show alternates between physical-comedy scenes in which Corduroy searches the store for his button while trying to evade a hapless Night Watchman (Brian Sostek, stepping in for the injured Reed Sigmund) and scenes of Lisa at home, begging her mom to buy the bear.
It's a simple show, but the production wrings laughs and pathos out of Corduroy's and Lisa's plights while also reminding us, in a way that never feels too take-your-medicine-it's-good-for-you, that neither children nor parents are perfect. If I wanted to pick nits, I could point out that either Sostek or Barry Kornhauser's script uses the word "inextricably" when it means "inexplicably," but that's just about the only flaw in this utterly delightful show.