This is the first family show EVER to be involved in the festival. And a magical one at that!
This is a story that follows Peggy’s (and rovers) mission to meet the spaceman! She wants to go into space to escape Mean Janine, but first has to get to the town hall to see you’re a banana… sorry I mean Yuri Gagarin.
I had the chance to see the audience before the event. The adults bantered in groups around the bar, whilst the children happily played ‘tig’. Admittedly I got a little tired watching them play, where do they get the energy from! Anyway… once the children were let into the room they ran straight to the colourful mats that had activity books laid out for them. I glanced over to the children during the play, and adorably their mouths were rested open in concentration, wide eyed in fascination and head titled up to admire the exciting performance!
It is set in 1961 and is based around Yuri Gagarin’s visit to the wonderful land of Manchester. It uses factual references throughout, so us adults ‘get’ them! The script isn’t as straight forward as I expected it to be, and in honest truth… educated me on this historic event! (I hated history, so well done for making me listen guys!)
Saira Chowdry (Peggy) was suitably cast as the naive, energetic and determined girl. Her big wide eyes really captured the innocence of a child. Eve Robertson (Mean Janine and many others) added a great sense of humour to the piece. Her portrayal of a dog was excellent, and stole a lot of the laughter. She really did research dog like qualities. She was versatile and played a variety of characters with ease. Luke Walker (Father and Yuri Gagarin) performed the emotional roles, where he genuinely seemed like a doting father and role model. The warmth of his character glowed off him only to burn into my heart.
The design by Olivia Du Monceau was simply genius. There was one box, which could have been mistaken for a Transformer! It changed into a blackboard, cupboards, spaceship, time capsule and probably more! It was a skilfully designed piece of equipment, adapting to the needs of each scene. Very clever. It even had lights that twinkled on the side… I was more amazed than the kids at this point!! Admittedly I was fascinated by a box… a box!
I didn’t want Peggy’s story to end, but she needed to go back home. The question is, was this adventure her creative imagination at work, or did it really happen? Come and watch to find out!!
I want to be a spaceman
A colourful, fascinating and enjoyable piece of theatre. And they didn’t lie in the flyer, it is fun for all the family. I don’t have children, but if I did, they’d be there. Just so I could see their little faces light up!
I said goodbye to the audience as they left, and bent down to a little boy to ask if he liked it. His reply, the most memorable of the day was: ‘I want to be a spaceman’