Previews & Reviews | KIDS

REVIEW DANCE WE ARE THE MONSTERS macrobert, Stirling, Sat 26 Sep ●●●●●

First comes anticipation, then delight, followed by laughter and finally a big dollop of cuteness. That’s pretty much the running order of audience experience at We Are The Monsters a clever and imaginative new dance show for young children and their (equally entertained) adults.

The anticipation comes via a stage full of cardboard boxes ripe with potential. Because although they’re motionless at first, it seems a fairly safe bet there’s something lurking inside them. That’s where the delight comes in, when one by one, the ‘monsters’ emerge from the packaging, each one more bizarre than the last.

Choreographer Colette Sadler and costume designer Philine Rinnert must

have had an absolute blast coming up with the outfits which turn four dancers into the strangest looking monsters ever created. Stretchy Lycra onesies with no arms, padded jackets sewn together and over-sized jeans are just some of the costumes paraded before us, as the characters meet each other cautiously outside their boxes.

PREVIEW PUPPET SHOW DINOSAUR ZOO Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sat 12–Sun 13 Sep; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Sat 19–Sun 20 Sep

The creatures themselves may have been extinct for over 60 million years, but Dinosaur Zoo still calls itself a ‘live animal presentation’, much like the ones in ordinary zoos or wildlife parks. Information on how to look after the prehistoric beasts, what to feed them, and how to avoid becoming food yourself, are all part of this popular show. Presented by a host and two puppeteers, Dinosaur Zoo relies heavily on audience participation, with youngsters invited on stage to help the keepers. ‘That’s actually my favourite part of the show,’ says director, Scott Wright, ‘because it’s unrehearsed. People’s reactions are very real and unpredictable, so it makes for some wonderful moments.’

Those too timid (or too far from the stage) to get involved during the show, can stay behind for a ‘meet and greet’, where you can stroke the creatures and pose for selfies. But despite the friendly approach, Barney the dinosaur, this most certainly isn’t.

The initial sight of them is hilarious, but then their actions keep the laughs ‘I find the commercialisation of dinosaurs perplexing,’ says Wright. ‘So

coming throughout until it’s time for the cuteness, when everyone is invited to give them a hug at the end. Gentle, funny and inventive, We Are The Monsters gives young audiences an introduction to movement they’ll probably never forget. (Kelly Apter) none of our dinosaurs speak, wear clothes or teach children to count. But we hope Dinosaur Zoo imparts some valued lessons about the true nature of animal behaviour, whilst having some fun and a good laugh too.’ (Kelly Apter)

PREVIEW THEATRE MAGIC SHO Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Sat 5–Sun 6 Sep; The Brunton, Musselburgh, Wed 14 Oct

Despite being widely regarded as one of Scotland’s best-loved and most skilful children’s theatre makers, Shona Reppe isn’t one for resting on her laurels. In recent years, her gorgeous and intricate productions of Cinderella, Potato Needs a Bath and The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean have delighted both young audiences and their grown-ups but now it’s time for a new challenge: magic.

The cleverly titled Magic Sho finds Reppe teaming up with a smart rabbit who never misses a trick, but is inexplicably sad. A puppeteer by trade, did Reppe have to learn actual magic tricks to create her new show? ‘Yes!’ she says, excitedly. ‘I do my best although it’s not easy

I realised during rehearsals that I’d taken on a lot making a new show and learning a completely new skill to boot. But it’s a magic show, so I had to go for it and the good thing is that unless you know how a trick is done, I have the element of surprise on my side.’

A fine puppeteer and storyteller, Reppe has also been

designing her own highly imaginative sets since forming her company almost 20 years ago. Inspiration for the Magic Sho set came from immersing herself in the world of magic, where she also established what kind of magician she wanted to be (should she succeed in her new quest to join the Magic Circle) . ‘This set is based on the idea of a travelling magician,’

explains Reppe. ‘I went to Blackpool Magic Convention and soaked up all the different styles I saw. So I’m channelling both David Copperfield (smoke and lights) and Paul Daniels (giant playing cards and gloss paint). I also wear a tuxedo. I’m definitely trying to present the traditional magic show format there’s nothing David Blaine about me.’ (Kelly Apter)

3 Sep–5 Nov 2015 THE LIST 67