All around the UK young kids have been stuck in the house for months because of Covid, with very little to do: one more episode of Paw Patrol might be just enough to push them and their carers over the edge. Here’s where Half Moon Theatre come to the rescue, with their wonderfully feelgood production, Party.
So what’s different about watching this live-filmed theatre show instead of an ordinary TV programme? They might both be lots of fun, but this – well, this totally activates the imagination. Fabulous music, movement and comedy propels you along, from one precisely observed moment to the next, and you can’t help but be engaged with the action.
Simon Victor as Afonso is unquestionably a big hairy grown up, but absurd as that may be, he brilliantly captures everything it is to be a kid. Waiting around in the house, a bit bored, Afonso looks for things to do, plays with his football, looks for things to do again… Until an invitation arrives – an invitation to go to a party!
From the very start, this production is captivating, with its simple yet vibrantly coloured set, and its totally convincing portrayal of a young boy. His is a sensory world of exploration, of colour, sound and sensation. We are led through an array of emotions; boredom, sitting around the house with not much to do (I think we all know what that’s like this year!); anticipation of an invitation arriving; excitement when it does. Then there’s the process of questioning the protocols for a party; what to wear? What to take? It culminates in attending the event, which is a bit scary at first, but then brilliant fun! And because barely a word is spoken throughout the play, and the props are so simple, we are actively engaged in watching and imagining what is going on in Afonso’s world, joyfully anticipating what will come next.
Afonso is a very likeable character, inquisitive and really funny, yet appealingly vulnerable. He is a child who knows what he likes, and isn’t afraid to be who he wants to be, even if that includes wearing a tutu and boots to a party: a great role model for us all.
The music by Mark Newnham is absolutely excellent. It helps to clearly define the structure of the story, whilst being upbeat and joyous, with a thread of traditional Portuguese fado woven throughout. You can’t help bopping along with the beat.
At only 30 minutes long this is a beautiful capsule of top class entertainment for little ones (and for grown-ups too, if you ask me!). Forget Paw Patrol this week and take the family to this Party instead.
Directed by: Chris Elwell
Design and Build by: Peter Orton
Music and sound designer by: Mark Newnham of Singing Cactus
Lighting and Production Manager: Samuel Baker
Party has closed captioning for d/Deaf and hard of hearing audiences and is also available with British Sign Language. It is available to stream until 1 April 2021. Tickets via Half Moon Theatre’s website below. Whilst booking is required, tickets are free, but where possible, people can make a donation payment to support Half Moon Theatre.