Friday, 6 June 2014

Up and Down - GaGa Theatre Company - Review

Today we went to see the GaGa Theatre Company's production of Up and Down, adapted from the book by Oliver Jeffers.  We loved it! From start to finish Ethan was absolutely riveted.


We started our day by dressing Ethan in a red and white stripy top, to look like the boy and dressing Ivy in black and white, to look like a penguin! Then off we went to the theatre, well cinema actually, which I didn't understand until I saw that the play actually uses the movie screen behind them in very clever ways to add to the production.  We arrived at the venue and took our seats in the front row, waiting for the show to begin.  I had Ivy in the baby carrier sleeping, and Ethan sitting beside me, literally on the edge of his seat waiting impatiently to see the little boy and the penguin.

As soon as the actors made their way onto the stage they had Ethan's full attention.  They were full of energy, bouncing around and getting the audience involved right from the start.  The little boy even pointed to Ethan and acknowledged that he was dressed the same, Ethan was chuffed, but very shy...to begin with.  It didn't take long for him to start getting involved with the show, shouting things out to help the characters.


The basic plot in the book is that the penguin wants to learn to fly and the boy is helping him.  Of course when the story was adapted for the stage they had to add to this, which they did brilliantly by expanding on the story as well as including adventures from Oliver Jeffers other books with the same characters; How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found and The Way Back Home.  Ethan was ecstatic when they started to act out a bit from How to Catch a Star, it's one of his favourites and he loved seeing them try to lasso the star with a life belt.

The other parts that Ethan loved were when they brought out a parachute and held it over the audience to play with.  His face lit up, watching a play and playing with a parachute, what more could he ask for?  He also loved 'helping' to blow up the balloons, which was also a brilliant use of the movie screen.  As the audience pretended to blow up the balloons, they would appear on the screen behind the actors.  So for Ethan, this looked like he was actually involved in the action on the stage, what a fantastic idea.  


About halfway through the show Ivy woke up, I was a bit worried that I would have to stand up and rock her to keep her happy, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  She seemed to be craning her neck to turn around in the baby carrier, so I took her out and sat her on my lap, and to my surprise she just wanted to watch the show!  She sat mesmerised, watching the actors move around the stage, cooing and giggling at the images on the screen.  

The show truly left an impression on all of us.  Both Ethan at 2 1/2 and Ivy at just 4 months old absolutely loved the play (as did I).  The characters are so likeable, and the actors did an excellent job of portraying them with such enthusiasm and integrity, it was like stepping right into the book.  I loved the use of really simple props and the images from the books on the screen were a fabulous addition to the show.  For Ethan it wasn't just watching a play, he felt like he was truly part of something.  At the end, he didn't say that was really good, he said "that was so much fun!"  

This production of Up and Down is only on for a few more days, if you have a chance I would highly recommend getting tickets to see it, it really is so much fun!


* This is a review post, GaGa Theatre Company provided tickets for us to see Up and Down and write and honest review about it.  For more about my review process, please click here . This post also contains affiliate links to buy the books from Amazon, in which I would get a small percentage of the cost. *

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