Lionel McLion has been roaming the plains of the Serengeti and is having a rest after having eaten his dinner, but all is not as usual. Lionel gets a bit of a fright when Mamoru, the human he’s just eaten, starts talking back.
The highly acclaimed, children’s theatre piece Eaten, starts not only a conversation between the eater and the eaten, but a wider discussion about our relationship to food (including Lionel’s impossible dream of becoming a vegetarian), where it comes from, and what happens after we’ve chomped it down.
For the kiddie audience there are many moments that engage: there are poos, farts and vomit involved and some audience participation where the tiny folk get to be a giraffe, a monkey, a cow or a frog – what’s not to love for the 6+ target audience.
It slips into the surreal often and is hysterically funny in parts: there’s a Q and A session when the tiny audience are confronted by Dr. Poo (from Pooniversity) imploring them to ask a question to their faeces – it’s hard to keep a straight face at their reactions and an off-the-wall dance section to Engelbert Humperdinck’s Last Waltz.
The ideas are sound, but the script at times smacks of someone who doesn’t know how to pitch to small children – when the question is asked of a puppet cow Are you real or just a concept? you know that this isn’t someone who spends time with a lot of 6-year-olds.
Mamoru Iriguchi plays both predator and prey simultaneously, both he and co-performer Suzi Cunningham are engaging. It must be said though that Iriguchi needs to hone his child interaction and wrangling skills to make this a truly successful endeavour. That said, Eaten raises not only some important questions but many smiles too.
There’s a lot of pressure being charming all the time. So many expectations. It’s enough to make you take to your bed and stay there in the same pants for three months. Prince Charming is crippled with anxiety, worrying about the dark, being struck by lightning, getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle, living up to his legendary name, falling into quicksand, fighting dragons and the last day of the world – to name a few. Our prince is “too busy with his brain” to get out of bed. It takes the kindly Gomo to help overcome his anxieties and coax our hero out from under his duvet.
Jenny Worton’s delightful tale reminds us that every worry has equal weight when you are a child and that worry unites us all, no matter whether you’re big or small. It also reminds us all that it’s perfectly OK not to have all the answers, we’re all in this together.
Giulia Innocenti’s Gomo is a warm guide through the story and Nix Wood manages to represent the whole gamut of human emotion in our strange-looking, but appealing, little wooden hero in blue Y-Fronts and a vest. There are a few musical numbers including the fabulous I’m Not Special (when it comes to worry), which reminds this reviewer of the unexpected and slightly subversive songs of Tim Minchin in Matilda. The set is simple but effective and the lighting, particularly the ceiling of stars is particularly beautiful.
There is as much entertainment for the adults as the children here. It all gets a bit meta as our Prince has an existential crisis: he’s already a “one size fits all character”, “general not special”, never the title character – there’s no story called Prince Charming, when he finds out he’s really a puppet, something that threatens to send him right back under the bed covers. But after he breaks the fourth wall and the tinies in the audience get up close and personal, all is well in our theatrical world.
It’s seems glib to say that something is heart-warming but Prince Charming truly is. Not only does it open up conversations on mental health in children in the most fabulous way, there are also laughs a-plenty, mild peril, some ear-worm songs and a whole lot to ruminate over, but ultimately it all adds up to a fabulous piece of entertainment for all ages that will send you to the street with a smile on your face.
Classic kids’ tale with a modern twist, Little Red Riding Hood is coming to Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 13 February at 3pm.
From the creative team behind the hugely popular Hairy Maclary Show, Little Red Riding Hood is a fun, original musical for children, with live music and loveable characters.
The show has toured from Edinburgh to Hong Kong and Singapore and comes to Eastwood Park Theatre as part of its 45th anniversary programme.
Recommended for pre-school children, the show features a forest full of family fun as Scarlet and her side-kick Stanley the Squirrel try to outwit Walter the Wolf.
Zoe Halliday, from Milton on Campsie, studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s musical theatre course. She will play the lead role of Scarlet and Glasgow Theatre Blog caught up with Zoe to find out about the show.
Tell us a little bit about the play.
The play follows the story of 16yr old Scarlet who is lives in the woods with her father. Not having many friends and feeling a bit alone has left Scarlet longing for an adventure which falls into her lap (literally) in the form of letter from her grandfather. After some indecision about her own bravery Scarlet embarks on the quest her grandfather has sent her. Along the way she meets some wonderful forest friends including Stanley the Squirrel but also faces someone hairy not so nice enemies! The story is a whirl wind of adventure with catchy tunes all the way!
And your role…
I play the fearless “Scarlet”
How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?
The play did a run over Christmas at Roxy Assembly in Edinburgh. The audiences were fantastic and got right into the spirit of the show by singing along and joining in the madness.
What is life like backstage on tour?
It is exciting! Every day we are in a different theatre/venue and face whatever challenges that presents. Whilst it can be hard going being away from family and friends we have become really close as a cast and always manage to have a laugh! Bringing the show to new audiences every day is really special and even better when you have a strong, fun filled cast.
Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?
I wish I could say I eat lots of vegetables and exercise regularly but that would be a lie. The performance is fresh every day because it’s my job and I love doing it. That and some orange Lucozade and we are laughing.
Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?
I decided I wanted to become an actor very early on. I loved dancing as a young child and was inspired by my mum who had her own dance school. I had grown up with old school musicals and dance films. I think I watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers so many times the video broke!
When my parents put me in stage school at 10 it just all made sense.
At the age of 13 I was one the first cohort of the Preparatory Musical Theatre programme at the Dance School of Scotland were I studied all through my high school years. I then went onto study a BA in Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at just 17yrs old.
Any advice for aspiring performers?
If you really want it, it is worth waiting for. The performing arts is an extremely hard industry but worth every ounce of effort!
Finally, why should people come along to see the play? and where else can we see it?
You should come and see Little Red Riding Hood for some exciting, fun and catchy enjoyment! Life isn’t as fun without a little adventure!