At first, my (nearly) 6 year old was resistant, he’s not always keen on new things. However, once the bus neared the fire station, memories of Victoria Sponge cake and Murray Lachlan Young’s wicked children’s poetry, from a previous visit, resurged and he started to become less disinterested’ perhaps even mildly enthusiastic. Before we took our booster seat ( v helpful), we bought a big box of popcorn.
From the off the show included the audience. The Penguin and the Boy came smiling and waving in from the rear of the theatre. At first my son was shy, but as the show continued he forgot to be self conscious. He grinned and giggled as he sent the Penguin off in the wrong direction, she had asked him for directions to the Zoo, and thanks to him, ended up at a wall at the end of an aisle. These moments of audience participation were charming; I won’t go into detail as the surprises were part of the magic.
I watched his expressions throughout the show to gauge how involved he was. You see, my engagement was slightly disrupted by the lighting which bleached the projection of Jeffers illustrations and broke the spell for me a little. But he was utterly involved throughout and never once seemed to lose interest. It was really satisfying to watch his face light up and see him get lost in the story; his expressions were so delightful.
I felt that the actors had more to offer, but were slightly stifled by the technology of the piece. Perhaps more real sounds from the actors and their instruments, as opposed to the pre-recorded sounds that they used, would have brought more intimacy to the production.
Overall, though, it was an engaging and inclusive way for young kids to get a feel for live performance. We’d certainly go to another of Ga Ga’s shows when they come to town, especially if they are able to make the ticket prices accessible for a range of family incomes.
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