Director: Harper Ray
Reviewer: Elizabeth Vile
Fizzing with enthusiasm, this site specific production takes the audience on an interactive and imaginative journey around this unique building. A selection of intimate and detailed scenes are loosely linked together by the strange disappearance of the builders who have been working deep under the newly constructed Sam Wannamaker Theatre. The audience’s task is to find out who has caused the disturbance and to stop them from causing any more damage. By the use of larger than life characters, recordings and puppets an entertaining and educational experience is created.
Led confidently by Sally Lofthouse as the Head Tour Guide and Tom Giles as the Tour Captain the groups are ably led around by interesting and motivating tour guides who answer all questions asked whilesharing information about the building in a clear and child friendly way. Facts are mingled seamlessly with fiction as dragons and tooth fairies are laced into Macbeth, Henry V and Romeo &Juliet.
Particular mention needs to go to Matthew Blake’s engaging and quirky performance as the Mythical Beast Catcher; but every performer captures the attention of the children present and holdsthem enthralled till the end of their section. The transitions between scenes are pacey and there isample seating, although it is a tight squeeze at times!
The use of puppets is particularly effective, but to explain how they were used would be to spoil the surprise.
Overall this is a fun and high energy performance that acts as a gentle introduction to the world of Shakespeare. Some of his plays are touched upon and some of the historical context is referred to. The young audience (6 years to 10 years) remainfocused and entertained throughout and, although some audience members would have liked a little more focus on the language of Shakespeare, it is a great introduction to the theatre building and the great man himself.
This production is designed specifically for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years old.
Runs Until27 August 2014| Photo: Alex Harvey-Brown