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Gorilla – Polka Theatre, London

Writer: Anthony Browne

Adaptor: Rachel Barnett

Reviewer: Tom Finch

[rating:4]

Gorilla - Anthony Browne - Polka Theatre - 17 October 2013The Cast - Phil Yarrow and Ceri AshcroftDirector - Roman StefanksiAdapter - Rachel BarnettComposer - Julian ButlerDesigner - Laura McEwenLighting - Chris RandallHannah loves gorillas, but she’s never seen a real one…

It is no mean feat to keep a room full of very small children quiet and engaged in something for 45 minutes but Gorilla manages it with an effortless charm. It is the night before Hannah’s birthday and she is hoping to get a REAL gorilla from her busy and somewhat distracted dad as a gift. It’s not long before a gorilla shows up and takes her out for an evening of adventure.

A cast of just two very likeable performers take the young audience on a lovely journey to the zoo, the cinema and a restaurant full of yummy food. Of course it wouldn’t be a children’s show without some puppetry and while there is much more skilled puppetry available in London this season it does add an enjoyable layer to the performance.

The production skilfully sweeps from one scene to the next without ever lingering too long on one thought, never letting go of the children’s attention. There are a few moments of pathos which appeared to go over the heads of most of the young audience and it would have been nice to examine the issues of absent parents and sad zoo animals in a little more depth.

The small compact set is full of delightful surprises which are revealed with alacrity. There is enough humour in the show to keep the grown ups entertained including some very funny film spoofs. This is a delightful production with buckets of charm.

Photo: Robert Workman

Runs until 15th February 2014

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