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)


Share    


At just thirty-one, Kate Tempest is set to be the youngest Brighton Festival Guest Director to date, taking the mantle from pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson, who led the 50th Brighton Festival this year. 

Director Sean Foley returns to the Theatre Royal Brighton with this perfectly-timed revival of Ronald Harwood's 1980 play, The Dresser
Pic By Warren Meadows

Being an iconic band is all about chemistry. Be they the Beatles, Small Faces, the Who, the Jam or the Stranglers. It's the mix of the individuals that makes the perfect whole.

Two acclaimed albums and an upcoming U.S. tour — Joy Division had the world at their feet. Then, on the eve of that tour and the beginning of what would surely have been an international success story, the band's troubled lead singer, Ian Curtis, killed himself.

Bobby Gillespie didn't think he'd make it to thirty, yet here he is at the age of fifty-four on the cusp of releasing new single Feeling Like A Demon Again, and paying a visit to Brighton to support Primal Scream's critically acclaimed new album, Chaosmosis.

The writer, musician and entrepreneur, Chris Wade, first came to our attention when he penned an insightful and in-depth account of one time Stranglers' frontman Hugh Cornwell's 2008 solo album, Hoover Dam.

A half-century long career can be a minefield to dissect, especially when there's a back catalogue that boasts as many twists and turns as a Formula 1 track, and just as many cohorts discarded in the never ending search for 'the muse'.

It's the ultimate rock 'n' roll road trip. In 2016, on the 90th anniversary of the opening of America's 'Mother Road', Brightonians Suzanne Rolfe and Melita Dennett spent five weeks travelling the dirt roads and gravel byways of Route 66.


American experimental rock band Swans, led by Michael Gira, formed in 1982 and, after disbanding in 1997, returned with three critically acclaimed albums, beginning with My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (2010).

From its nebulous beginnings in the latter part of the 50’s the peacock male's rise into the conscious of the nation has been well documented. 

David Baddiel travelled on Virgin Trains over the summer months across the UK on both the east and west coast routes to create new children's fiction. 

They were the overnight success that was almost 40 years in the making.The Very Reverend Eugene O’Hagan, Martin O’Hagan and David Delargy – collectively known as The Priests – were catapulted to fame when they signed a major recording deal in 2008. Number one hits, a rumoured duet with Lady Gaga and interest from Australia, the USA and Europe followed.

Chris Levine, who previously collaborated with Kate Moss, Grace Jones and Massive Attack, has unveiled his new work - a spectacular immersive sound and light installation which is set to become one of the iconic events that form the Root 1066 International Festival in Hastings.

Singer Alison Moyet, who has experienced dementia within her family, will walk beside thousands of others who have been affected by the condition at the Brighton Memory Walk.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd