Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article
Monday 15 April 2013

Knick Knack And Doo Dad: Children Were Glued To The Bizarre Events Played Out @ Brighton Dome

If Samuel Beckett, Spike Milligan, Sergei Diaghilev and Franz Kafka all got together to write a children"s show, Knick Knack and Doo Dad is pretty much what they would have come up with (Studio Theatre, Dome Complex, Brighton 13th April 2013).



The set is reminiscent of Beckett's 'Endgame', with the wild humour a reminder of Milligan. 

This, coupled with a complete lack of respect for any convention of children's theatre that Diaghilev would have loved, and a plot that folds in on itself in a labyrinthine web of confusion that Kafka would have been proud of, should not have worked at all.

But in actual fact it did…well sort of…well I think it did.

If you add in to the mix that this was originally a Christmas show, and that some prior reviews were less than kind, and that the most colourful and cuddly things on the stage were some fake black rats it should all have been a disaster. 

But it wasn"t. Well, I don"t think so anyway. 


In addition the theatre was only just half full, and the plot, if it existed at all, was so strung out and unintelligible that I had no idea what was going on, and I have an M.A. in Greek Theatre and 13 years of reviewing under my belt.

Further, the sounds effects, such as telephones accompanying the show, had major technical difficulties. 

See what I mean? This should have been the worst thing I have ever seen. Except, it wasn"t. In fact it was one of the best. Honest.

Someone once said that so called 'classic books' refer to the texts that parents like their kids to read, rather than the books the kids actually like. 

Thus Enid Blyton's work was sniffed at for years while stuff like The Railway Children was hailed as a "classic". 

Be honest, which did you read as a child?

As a reviewer of children's theatre I have tried to learn that lesson and observe the reactions of the kids to the productions, and not just the parents (myself included). 


The children loved this play, they absolutely loved it; they shouldn"t have, not on paper, but they did. 

Not one child, apart from one girl who left crying, did anything except sit glued to the bizarre events on stage. 

Patrick Lynch and Carlo Rossi, the two stars of the show, pretended to be each others reflections in a mirror and played slow motion football with a black sack of rubbish. 

One pretended to be dead and then kicked the other ones bottom while he consoled a life size dummy that seemed to represent his mate"s alter ego. 

Magic fires were lit in umbrellas, yes, umbrellas, while low-tech snow appeared in the form of cotton wool sheets. 

One man squashed the other by rolling out a section of astro-turf filled with rats across his prone body. 

Another had glasses that squirted out pretend tears that they then caught in a bucket complete with a metal funnel. Do I need to go on?

The adults looked on bemused by this festival of post apocalyptic modernist plot-less theatrical barmpot nonsense, while the children giggled, stared in bewilderment, looked on in shock, sat back in confusion, smiled in wonder and stared in awe.

You see they loved it. 

My children, both boys aged 7 and 5, loved it. 

Joe was so drawn by the production that he barely found time to eat his Maltesers, Tom was getting them out of his bag without letting his eyes drop.

"What did you think of it then?" I asked them afterwards.

"WE LOVED IT!" They said leaping up and down wildly. They then proceeded to spend the next two hours going hyper and copying the "pretend guy on the other side of the empty frame is your reflection" trick all the way home all the way around Sainsbury's. 

Sorry fellow shoppers!



by: Howard Young (Arts Editor)


   

An amazing collaboration between The Band Project, Rizzle Kicks drummer - Lewis Whittington and the Brighton Guitar Academy will offer a unique free music workshop for local youngsters at Brighton Electric, later this month.
Following a well received  headline show at this summer's Songlines Festival, Grammy-winner Dobet Gnahoré returns with fourth album Na Drê and a specially-commissioned show featuring her band and African dancers.
Young people all over Brighton are being given the chance to take part in a memorable and educational cinematic experience as part of the Into Film Festival - the world's biggest youth film festival - when it comes to cinemas across the region.
Local resident  and comedian Jim Moir (better known as Vic Reeves), wife Nancy and daughters Lizzy and Nellie, had a wild experience in South Africa recently, when they flew out to the Shamwari Game Reserve with international wildlife charity, The Born Free Foundation.
After twenty years in Everything But The Girl, and ten years as a respected DJ and record label boss of Buzzin' Fly, Ben Watt announced last year he was parking everything to complete two long-planned creative solo projects. 

Bradley Wiggins will defend his title and compete in this year's Tour of Britain cycle race, which arrives in Brighton on 13th September.
The International Ocean Film Festival at Brighton Dome originates from the team behind the Banff Mountain Film Festival and  promises a sublime cinematic journey above and below the waves.
The city's teachers may have been officially off duty from their classrooms for the past six weeks, but many of them have been keeping themselves busy by volunteering their time over the summer for Young City Reads, Brighton's citywide reading initiative for primary school children.
Former England Rugby Sevens captain and Brighton College pupil, Ollie Phillips is encouraging people to tackle dementia by signing up to Alzheimer's Society's Brighton and Hove Memory Walk on 4th October.
Brighton singer Jo Harman has won the Female Vocalist of the Year at the British Blues Awards. She was nominated as one of the finalists by a wide ranging committee of industry experts, with the final decision going to public vote.
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