Bread and Roses Theatre
Reviewed – 28th September 2019
“Khokynkova has flair as a puppeteer … and has a good understanding of what will appeal to her audience”
Coco’s Adventures is a charming peek into the world of a clown and her monkey, Coco. It is currently playing at the Bread and Roses Theatre in North Clapham as part of the Clapham Fringe Festival. Devised, created and performed by the versatile Kamila Khokynkova of Apis Studios, this is a one-woman show (with puppets and clowning) that has much to appeal to both children and their adult companions. The story is simple, heartwarming and child friendly, as is appropriate for a show aimed at four year olds and up. It begins with an introduction to the clown and her companion, Coco, and together they embark on a sea voyage around the world in search of buried treasure. Along the way, they encounter a flamenco dancer in Spain; a lion in Africa (as well as a baby chimp who mistakes Coco for her mother); try a spot of snake charming in India, and watch a beautiful starry night at sea, complete with shooting stars. Then a giant squid threatens the ship, and is finally chased off by a storm. Coco and the clown find the treasure underneath a rainbow and return home.
In Coco’s Adventures, Khokynkova plays the clown, while the rest of the cast, including Coco, are a collection of large puppets cleverly attached to both clown and/or props. Audience participation is encouraged, and a child from the audience is invited onto the stage to assist the clown and Coco in their travels. She describes herself as an emerging artist and it is true that her clowning skills need a degree of work, especially as the show has no dialogue, and all the information must be communicated through slapstick, gestures and visuals. Some of these are makeshift, and some of the props combine rather uneasily with the overall design of the show. But Khokynkova has flair as a puppeteer (and designer of puppets) and has a good understanding of what will appeal to her audience. There was also a nice use of music to indicate a change of scene and location. Bubbles blown over the audience at the end of the show were a big hit. In time, with the acquisition of more skills, and better understanding of how to integrate the design of a show, Coco’s Adventures should become a welcome addition to the children’s theatre circuit.
Reviewed by Dominica Plummer
Photography by Paul D. MacIntyre
Bread and Roses Theatre until 5th October as part of Clapham Fringe
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: