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    


Snow Patrol are set to return with Wildness, their first album in seven years, which finds the band searching for clarity, connection, and meaning, while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence. 

From an angel and a tennis player to a joyfully paint-splashed lady, Hangleton and East Brighton residents have been creating life-size 'avatars': colourfully painted, cut-out figures that explore who they are or who they would like to be for a Brighton Festival project called Looking Through Each Other's Eyes.

Rituals is the ambitious new album from Australian musician Amaya Laucirica (who played a storming set at last weekend's Brighton's Great Escape Festival). Her work blends the swirling contours of the Cocteau Twins with the wistful melodies of The Go-Betweens and the sonic depth of Yo La Tengo. 

Following last year's success, Byline Festival returns to Pippingford Park, in East Sussex, and once again promises festivalgoers a unique opportunity to recapture the spirit of festivals when they had a sense of purpose. 

John Finnemore has followed a well worn path and is pretty much your definitive BBC Radio 4 comedian; studied English at Cambridge University and cut his teeth in the Cambridge footlights rising to become its vice president in his final year. After graduating, he performed in Sensible Haircut with the Footlights team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000.

Following band frontman Mike Peters' major undertaking for last week's Record Store Day – which saw him perform at record shops in London, New York and Los Angeles in a three-stop transcontinental trip within twenty-four hours – The Alarm announce the release of their new album Equals.

A special ceremony is being held next month at Woodvale Cemetery, Brighton, to return the gravestone of Thomas Highflyer, a 12-year-old slave boy who was rescued from a slave dhow and died in Brighton 148 years ago.

My first visit to The Spire. As you may have guessed from the name it was once a church (St Mark's Chapel, in East Brighton). This one has been converted to an arts venue. It still looks very much like a church though, just missing the pews and altar etc and of course, it has a stage… and wonderfully, and at least on this night, a foyer with seating and a bar.

It was always a pleasure for The Brighton Magazine to host The Beat's Dave Wakeling, when he performed in the city as part of the 3 Men & Black collective (alongside Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers and Pauline Black and Nick Welsh from The Selecter).

A new play by Townsend Theatre Productions relives the extraordinary true story of the Grunwick Strike, a dispute that challenged the way women and immigrants are treated in the workplace.

Brighton based gallery 35 North Contemporary Fine Art is set to host Deanland, a new exhibition of original work by painter Alexander Johnson and photographer John Brockliss. 
Pic by Paul Mansfield

The Rock House Festival 2018 brings together learning disabled bands and upcoming and established music-makers from Brighton and beyond for a day of live music at Green Door Store, Brighton.

Joan Armatrading is a woman of candour – not to mention can do. She gets straight to the heart of the matter, and she delivers.

Creative Scotland will support nine top Scottish acts to perform at two Showcasing Scotland concerts at The Great Escape 2018, in Brighton - one of the most important platforms for new music in the world attracting over 3,500 key industry figures on the look-out for new talent.

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