Writer/Director: Chris Goode
Reviewer: John Roberts
“Out of the mouths of babes (oft times come gems)” and that couldn’t be any closer to the truth in the latest production from Chris Goode at the Traverse Theatre. Goode’s latest production uses dialogue from conversations between children and Karl James and uses them verbatim to create an interesting and touching 75 minute landscape of the ridiculous, the profound and usually the often very funny.
It is refreshing to see a verbatim play explored in a new and interesting way, however in his layering of the script even Goode can’t help but edge in underlying political messages, a trick seen often in other playwright’s of the genre, however here those messages feel rather shoe horned in and feel rather obtrusive.
The cast of six speak the words with truth and conviction however the premise of the piece “Children talk about their lives, spoken by adults-playing adults in adult situations” doesn’t follow through the whole production, occasionally the lines spoken feel so childish that the actors instantly fall into juvenile physicality to get through the text.
Naomi Dawson’s set design evokes a magical playground to hang the action from beautifully, however Goode’s direction is a one trick pony – there are only so many configurations of Sit down, move blocks, stand up, move blocks that one can see in 75minutes, where the children have clearly given their imaginations to the production from the word go, Goode however has clearly left his half way through the process.
An enjoyable evening but Monkey Bars still needs to grow and mature into the play it truly deserves to be.