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Double Double Act, Unicorn Theatre – Review

Pros: Aren’t kids adorable?
Cons: Little here for adults.

Pros: Aren’t kids adorable? Cons: Little here for adults. “This is a children’s theatre – it’s no place for existentialism!” says performer Jessica Latowicki halfway through this energetic comedy production. It’s true that the Unicorn Theatre is a brilliant kids’ place, the whole building is geared to engage with young hearts and minds, but it does also stage shows that provide children and grown-ups alike with a window onto adult themes. Double Double Act is not one of those shows, nor does it pretend to be, so it must be judged on its own terms. This is a comedy…

Summary

Rating

3 stars - Good

Plenty of fun for very young theatre-goers.

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“This is a children’s theatre – it’s no place for existentialism!” says performer Jessica Latowicki halfway through this energetic comedy production. It’s true that the Unicorn Theatre is a brilliant kids’ place, the whole building is geared to engage with young hearts and minds, but it does also stage shows that provide children and grown-ups alike with a window onto adult themes.

Double Double Act is not one of those shows, nor does it pretend to be, so it must be judged on its own terms. This is a comedy show aimed squarely at the under-ten age bracket, and by and large it goes down a storm with that audience.

The show consists of two seven-year-old performers (two alternating pairs, Caitlin Finlay and Caspian Tarafdar on press night) who imitate and interrupt a series of sketches by adult actors Latowicki and Christopher Brett Bailey. The youngsters are enthusiastic, charming, and clearly having the time of their lives. There are no forgotten lines or missed cues, an impressive feat considering the show lasts an hour and contains multiple costume changes and a lot of physical comedy.

It’s easy for adults to forget how hysterical children find bodily functions; the high-pitched howls of laughter that greet fart gags and mentions of “doo-doo” are deafening. They respond equally vocally to a scary clap of thunder, screaming with delighted terror, and the prospect of seeing the two adults kissing prompts loud wails of disgust.

Some of the (marginally) more intellectual word play goes over many of the young heads, and some sequences, including the climactic knife throwing skit, fail, sparking as much interest as pretend pooing and mixing disgusting magic potions.

The show feels like a big budget production; gunge machines don’t come cheap, and there’s an abundance of set pieces flying about; the whole thing is a hearteningly silly affair. If you have young children you should definitely consider giving it a go. If you don’t, my advice would be to keep a polite distance and look out instead for the more sophisticated shows that can also be found at this fantastic venue.

Creators: Tim Cowbury, Jessica Latowicki, Christopher Brett Bailey
Producer: Made In China
Playing Until: July 9th
Box Office: 020 7645 0560
Booking Link: https://www.unicorntheatre.com/DoubleDoubleAct

About Nathan Blue

Nathan Blue
Nathan is a writer, painter and semi-professional fencer. He fell in love with theatre at an early age, when his parents took him to an open air production of Macbeth and he refused to leave even when it poured with rain and the rest of the audience abandoned ship. Since then he has developed an eclectic taste in live performance and attends as many new shows as he can, while also striving to find time to complete his PhD on The Misogyny of Jane Austen.