Take a magical, musical journey through the tales of Quentin Blake at the Polka Theatre this summer. All Join In and Other Stories is a fantastic chance to dip into the worlds of some of Blake’s most lovable characters from Mrs Armitage and her bike to Mr Magnolia with only one boot.
The talented cast of five sing, dance and play their way through a selection of tales with all the enthusiasm and joy of a child let loose in a toyshop. Although geared to four to seven-year-olds, grown-ups were equally enthralled, laughing and singing along during the performance.
Each story is told through music or song with the cast singing and playing instruments as diverse as the spoons and the cello. And when they are left to ‘sort out the kitchen pans’, there follows an amazing sequence featuring Stomp-style dancing and improvised percussion.
As the title suggests, the audience is positively encouraged to ‘join in’ singing and clapping, and favourite characters such as Mr Magnolia leave the stage for the auditorium so the audience is even closer to the action.
Clever, witty lyrics and catchy tunes by musical director Ben Glasstone (Fantastic Mr Fox, The Mouse Queen) make it great fun for young and old alike.
The sets, designed by Laura McEwen, have the hallmark of a Quentin Blake illustration come to life, but it is the cast who steal the show with their tremendous energy, musical talents and brilliant storytelling.
With a running time of one hour thirty minutes, it’s probably best suited to those aged four and over. That aside, if you only make one theatre trip this summer make it to the Polka Theatre. All Join In, as my six-year-old fellow critic said “is wonderful and exciting”.
All Join In…and Other Stories is on at the Polka Theatre, Wimbledon until 6 August 2011.
Tickets are priced at £12 weekends, £10 weekdays and £8 concessions.