The Ga Ga Theatre Company are a new company who have adapted one of Oliver Jeffers books into a show for children. Yesterday we headed to Clapham Picturehouse to see Up and Down the Stage Play – and had a lovely time!
‘Up and Down’ is one of H’s favourite books and the sequel to ‘Lost and Found’. It’s fun to read and a fine story about the value of friendship – the penguin wants to fly, finds a way, loses the boy, realises penguins aren’t meant to fly and realises that he’s happiest with the boy anyway.
So how do you make this into a great stage show?
Keep it simple – lots of plain dialogue – “up”, “down” and occasional questions – a parachute over the audience that the adult help move as the boy and the penguin play while staying faithful to the book. Both actors were excellent, great facial expressions and straight away you knew it was the boy and the penguin, I didn’t feel like it took time to get used to it.
There are just the two actors and a simple musical score. Questions such as “Have you seen the penguin?” encourage the children to join in and point or shout which way they saw it go. There’s lots of waving and including the children in the show which had H overcoming any shyness she might have initially had. I liked the attention to detail – things in the book which are seen in passing feature, and of course there’s a game of backgammon in there!
‘Up and Down’ has a really simple set – boxes which have various props or convert into the boy’s plane, and in the background the artwork from the book projected onto the screen.
‘Up and Down’ the stage play lasted about 40 minutes without an interval, and mixing live theatre with projections and original music worked really well. It’s suitable for babies and children up to the age of seven. Under 2’s go free.
‘Up and Down’ is showing right now at the various Picturehouse venues around London until early November. The Ga Ga Theatre Company are planning to do more shows like this, so keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter pages – they have a Pinterest board too which I hope are ideas for future shows!
We were given tickets to review the show, all opinions are our own. Apologies for the quality of the photos, I didn’t want to take many so we could sit back and enjoy it!