Pros: Lively, energetic and well-thought out children’s theatre.
Cons: This show is not for children who scare easily and aren’t keen on the dark.
An evening of mystery, exploration and problem solving is taking place at Watford Palace Theatre whilst they play host to Bad Physics’ interactive promenade performance for children, The Adventure. The evening is a treasure hunt of sorts as the audience help three ‘children’, siblings Jack and Jill and their overly energetic friend Ben, find their kidnapped father with the reluctant assistance of a story-telling clown. Together, we travel from room to room in the theatre, solving a series of clues and puzzles in order to rescue Dad and save the day.
There is no sitting down in this performance; it really is a constant adventure! It’s not for the claustrophobic or those afraid of the dark (we spend a surprising amount of time in the dark, including a really fun game of statues), but it absolutely is for those who enjoying solving puzzles, like exploring and have a keen sense of adventure.
It was a strange experience for this reviewer, as I don’t have children and it’s been a painfully long time since I fell in the recommended age group of 7-13. I stood out like a sore thumb: the parents held the kids’ coats and stood at the back admiring their efforts to save the day, while I moved forward to get involved, even though I was the tallest one there by about two feet. It should have been an uncomfortable evening for me, but the truth is this is such lively, energetic and enjoyable theatre that I can genuinely say it was enjoyed by all who attended.
The kids loved it. The puzzles seemed age-appropriate and the Morse-code portion is really well done, allowing the children to take on something new to them. There is a section where the kids are led into a dark room full of cardboard boxes, all containing crucial components for the journey, and they are encouraged to explore to their hearts’ content. For the grown-ups, there’s much fun to be had chasing the kids around and laughing along at their comments along the way; the children really bring this to life in a wonderful fashion. There are some great jokes from the storyteller which are clearly directed at the older members of the audience.
The cast are brilliant at keeping the kids engaged, entertained and on the right track to solving the puzzles. I was a bit shocked by the goriness of one scene: there’s a torture chair surrounded by blood spattered plastic sheets and a clue written out in ‘blood’ which would not have looked out of place in an episode of Criminal Minds. The kids seemed non-plussed however, and the shyest girl in the group was the first to run and sit in the chair to solve the clue. It’s all part of the great set dressing in this adventure. Nowhere is this more impressive as when we uncover the twist in this story, which is revealed in glorious theatricality and cleverly turns the idea of looking in on a performance on a stage straight up on its head.
This show is interactive fun for both kids and adults, and everyone leaves with a big smile on their face. The Adventure does justice to its name, and it’s a journey I’m glad I had a chance to go on.
Author: Oliver Birch
Producer: Bad Physics
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.