Based on characters by: Lauren Child
Adapter: Jonathon Lloyd
Director: Roman Stefanski
Reviewer: Christopher Owen
Charlie and Lola are two of the most loveable characters from the world of children’s books and television. With this show, originally performed in 2008, Charlie and Lola have now been brought back to the wonderful Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, for the summer season, ready to charm and delight families with their brand of playful fun and vivid imagination.
Although there is only the very simplest of plots in this 1 hour 15 minute show (Charlie needs to get Lola to tidy their room, then she pretends to be a magician, then he must get her ready to go to sleep) the show is perfectly formed for the guided audience age of 4 – 7 years old. With beautiful puppetry performed skilfully by the ever enthusiastic cast of four, the younger audience members are enthralled when the characters they recognise and love are on stage. However, with many smaller props and puppets used, it can at times be hard to see from further back in the auditorium, I was just beyond two thirds back and even I found some things hard to identify at certain items, so I worry how the children would have found it, but this is only a minor problem.
Nonetheless, the sheer charm and sweetness of the show is undeniable, with bubbles, and a lovely use of butterflies raining down on us from the top of the auditorium (even if they are an easy distraction for some children), you really feel part of the show, and the target audience were lapping it up. A special mention too, must go to the wonderful show programme, which is one of the best I’ve ever seen, both in terms of content and design – simple, bright, informative, and full of lots of activities to do when you get home.
Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play is a lovely introduction to theatre for the young, who may not have been to any kind of show before. With big bright sets, and a welcoming atmosphere, Polka theatre once again get it right, and if you are in need of something to entertain your youngsters over the summer, and fancy a break from sport, then this is a lovely show to check out.