“silliness and slapstick which delights the audience”
Yesterday saw me battling the the remains of the weekend snow, icy rain and wind to arrive at Greenwich Theatre for SharkLegs Theatre’s production of Snow-Pocalypse. Aimed at children aged 4+ this show runs in mornings throughout December.
Crawling on my hands and knees through a tunnel entrance I arrived in the wintry world of Trilby (Christina Forrest) and The Boot (Billy Bilham). Their world is created from a section of what appears to be very random items and bits of rubbish. However, pretty much every single item is utilised during the performance transforming an everyday object such as a washing line into a piece of Christmas wonder. Trilby and The Boot look at and discover each item with fresh eyes, experiencing it for the first time making you wonder what you would think if you saw a cassette tape or a camera for the first time.
They are endearing characters with their own unique language. Despite being the only two people left in the world they explore the stage with awe and wonder. Using pictures from the last book in the world they explore the delights of winter and Christmas utilising the items they have around them showing that Christmas doesn’t have to be all shiny and perfect but it is how you enjoy it with who and what you have around you.
Snow-Pocalypse gives you 50 minutes of silliness and slapstick which delights the audience both children and adults alike. I watched the show along with thirty year 2 primary school children. Their raucous laughter and gasps of wonder throughout the show illustrated what a delightful piece of Christmas magic this is. The final minutes of the show send the kids into a frenzy of excitement with use of a snow machine and a UV light. You leave feeling all warm inside, a smile on your face and ready to brave the wintry weather once again. Even the slush doesn’t seem too bad now!
The show is preceded with a short fun workshop where children can make an item which becomes part of the show that they are then able to take home with them.
Reviewed by Angela East
Photography by Tom Ziebell
Snow-Pocalypse: Friendship Never Melts
is at the Greenwich Theatre until 30th December 2017
“the catchy songs get stuck in your head for hours after you’ve left the theatre”
Tall Stories’ latest production of The Gruffalo’s Child is heart-warming and the perfect family show for the run up to Christmas. The musical is adapted from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book, and is the sequel to The Gruffalo. The story continues on from the first instalment, and this time follows the journey of the Gruffalo’s child, played by the wonderful Sophie Alice. She goes on a quest to find the Big Bad Mouse, and along the way meets all the characters we recognise from The Gruffalo: the snake, the owl, the fox and of course, the clever mouse.
The cast is made up of only three actors, but their energy fills the stage. They work extremely well together, and are perfectly in sync in all their actions. The show utilises a lot of physical theatre and this is only successful because of how well the actors work together. Catriona Mackenzie brings the character of the mouse alive, also acting as a narrator throughout. Sophie Alice as the Gruffalo’s child, captures the childlike energy of the character. Andrew Mudie is particularly impressive, playing four completely different animal characters, each with his own distinct accent and personality. He easily seizes the audience’s attention, even the youngest of children, and engages everyone in audience participation.
Composers Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw did a great job of transforming the short storybook into a musical. The music and lyrics are simple, but fitting to the show, and the catchy songs get stuck in your head for hours after you’ve left the theatre. Whilst some of the content can be considered a little dark, with the young Gruffalo threatening to eat all of the animals she meets, this is true to the original story and helps move the narrative along.
The set (Isla Shaw) is very simple, consisting of a few trees and rocks that get moved around the stage to create new settings, placing the entire focus on the fantastic trio of actors. There is the perfect balance of audience participation, and the show is interactive enough to keep young children entertained throughout. With a running time of only 55 minutes, Olivia Jacobs’ direction delivers a very fast paced, delightful one act show. The Gruffalo’s Child is perfect for anyone looking to take their children for a Christmas treat, especially if they are fans of The Gruffalo books.