FamilyNorth East & YorkshireReview

There’s a Monster in Your Show – York Theatre Royal

Reviewer: Jennie Eyres

Book: Tom Fletcher

Adaptation: Zoe Bourn

Director: Miranda Larson

Tom Fletcher is now almost as famous for writing a wealth of creative, interactive books for children as he is for having been the founding member of pop rock band McFly. His books are funny, cute and zany in equal measure, in particular his Who’s in Your Book? series, so it was no surprise to see that they had been turned into a production, touted as a ‘high energy 50 minute adventure featuring lively original music’.

The concept works well – a group of performers, led by Charlie (Vinnie Monachello) are getting ready to begin their show, putting the finishing touches to the set, lights and costumes. They soon realise, however that they are not alone as there is a certain Little Monster who wants to get involved. Little Monster inadvertently causes (a relatively safe amount of) chaos and ends up inviting his friends Dragon, Unicorn and Alien out of their books and into the show too. By the end all is well, and Charlie realises that the show can be even better if it includes all of the book characters, as he learns about friendship, team work and listening to others.

Little Monster, Dragon, Unicorn and Alien are all puppets, standing around 2 feet and a bit high, and have been created with great accuracy to resemble the characters in the books. The performers tend to take a puppet each and provide their voices, as they take them around the stage, making them leap and dance around. It is a shame that the puppets are not a bit more manoeuvrable – they can’t hold props on their own and their legs do not move independently, so they are more stuffed toy than actual puppet, but they are big enough and cute enough that the kids in the audience are happy to see them.

This is a show with music, so there are a number of songs and reprises. They are all upbeat and jolly, occasionally catchy too, in particular the song about being part of a team, which had the audience, some of whom were toddlers, out of their seats shouting ‘As a team!’ but they aren’t going to win any awards for originality.

The cast are energetic and work hard, their voices work together well, though some voices are stronger than others. In particular Vinnie Monachello was able to showcase his vocal talent a little in the song Would You Like to Hear a Story?. Charlie Daniells provided effective harmonies as well as voicing both the Dragon and the Unicorn.

This is a good introduction to live theatre for children, particularly those aged 3-6 – on occasion the actions and words that were required for the audience interaction and singalongs were shown too briefly for the young audience to catch, so maybe the interactivity isn’t quite what it could be – but it’s a solid show based on a nice idea, so there’s nothing really to dislike about it.

Runs until 28th March 2024.

The Reviews Hub Score

Lively pre-schooler entertainment

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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