REVIEW: Ga Ga Theatre’s Up and Down at The Duke of York’s

We love The Duke of York’s Picturehouse and we love Oliver Jeffers’ illustrations. So I was thrilled to have been given family tickets for  Ga Ga Theatre’s production of Up and Down.

Screenshot 2014-05-19 09.50.43At 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.

Screenshot 2014-05-19 09.50.58I 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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2 Comments on “REVIEW: Ga Ga Theatre’s Up and Down at The Duke of York’s”

  1. Very nice write-up. I hear the production has played differently in different areas owing to the set-up of the venues, lighting etc. Really looking forward to seeing it in Hammersmith! Thanks for the review 🙂

    1. Hello and thanks for leaving a comment.
      I agree with you about the set-up of the venue. I seem to remember that The Duke of York’s like to leave the lights on when very small children are in the building for health and safety reasons.
      It didn’t seem to bother my son in the slightest, he was captivated by the performance, but to my eye I would have felt more immersed if it had been dark.
      Hope that the Hammersmith performance was/is good. Let us know what you think of it?
      All the best 🙂

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