SAN DIEGO — Turtles danced. Turtles sang. Turtle banners flew. Glow-in-the-dark turtle weapons slashed the night. And hey, dudes, that was just in the audience .
Times' critic-on-the-half-shell, Ted Granberry--age 5 1/2--was too mature for such displays. Sure, he cared about the turtles as much as any kid Wednesday night at the San Diego Sports Arena, but he maintained his critical cool.
Let others rush the stage, eager to press turtle flesh. He kept his loyalties hidden, much like his Ninja Turtle underwear.
Fortified with a pizza dinner--a turtle favorite--washed down with a glass of milk in a Ninja Turtle glass, Granberry headed out with dad and stepmother in tow to see "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Coming Out of Their Shells Tour."
The show runs through Sunday as part of a nationwide concert swing.
Already, the album has gone double platinum--proof that almost anything bearing the likeness of the Ninja Turtles will sell like crazy. In their case, green begets green.
To this savvy veteran of the turtle movie, as well as cartoons and video games, the plot that rounded out the raucous songfest held few surprises.
"Shredder will fall down," Granberry said of the turtles' arch-enemy, at the beginning of the second act.
He was right.
"The turtles always win."
In this too, he was right.
Still, with the Turtles, plot is not as important as execution. Granberry may have known the outcome, but that hardly kept him from staring with rapt attention at the antics on stage for roughly two hours.
Most impressive to this critic was confetti, blasted from big guns by Shredder's evil minions.
"Fun," he said, bending down to collect a small, purple shred of the stuff to take home. And the Turtles' tossing of plastic pizzas at eager kids in the audience produced an appreciative--but envious--smile, for he would have loved one of those, too.
As for the actors in this shell game, all turtles may be equal, but some are more equal than others--at least in Granberry's eyes.
He gave all the credit to the turtles' success to the green fellow with the blue bandanna, Leonardo, a stuffed replica of which he purchased at intermission.
"He was the best. He did it all," he said, clutching his stuffed Leonardo, which he later took to bed, but not before donning his Ninja Turtle pajamas and slipping dreamily into his Ninja Turtle sheets.
\o7 Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday at the San Diego Sports Arena, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., 278-TIXS.\f7