RING A DING DING
Unicorn Theatre (Clore auditorium) Tooley Street To 30 December.
10.45am 13-15 Dec.
2pm 13, 16 Dec (all other performances sold out).
TICKETS: 020 7645 0560.
then tour to 11 February 2012.
Runs 1hr No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 9 December.
Tale of a dog that has audiences over the moon.
They’ve had us in a mole-hole, they’ve had us going shopping. This time Tim Webb’s ever-inventive Oily Cart sits its audience of 3-6 year olds at a round table made of two circular strips, rotating opposite ways, with a central space for the performers.
Alice’s dog runs off, and she’s soon after it. She, and people met on the way, switch between human and wire-model forms as the dog finds a motor-bike, and is pursued on a milk-float, a boat, then a voyage to the moon.
The piece varies the hour with a couple of audience journeys, to search-out provisions for a boat voyage, then dance at a lunar party.
Behind everyone musician George Panda cycles several times, creating tunes on a set of metallic plates. Bells and circles are repeated motifs, while the characters mix the sympathetic consistency of Alicia McKenzie’s Alice with the comic types of Griff Fender’s milkman and pipe-smoking, biscuit-loving old salt. The alternations are fascinating between these human incarnations and the characters glimpsed as if distantly in tiny model versions, pursuing the canine, who’s evidently enjoying his journey.
Audience members enthusiastically propel the table’s outer ring with its beach-huts, lighthouse and captain’s supplies. Involvement’s constant, with every eye following proceedings; sometimes the company gently incorporates audiences within the characters and story.
Like many stories being told on stage this Christmas, Ring A Ding Ding incorporates a quest that confirms the importance of friendship, persistence and initiative. It does so in a way finely-judged for its audience’s age-range.
As for the title – after donning headgear and trying out sounds in the foyer, every person rings a bell-pull to gain admission to the auditorium. Nor are Panda’s plates the only resounding sound as bells recur through the show (whole chains of them at one point, for the audience to ring), while the idea of a circle gives shape to an adventure that ends with a homecoming. And, having taken us through a fog-bound sea at night, aground on a desert island, and to the moon, it leaves audiences over the moon, even when everyone’s safely back home.
Cast: Griff Fender, Elayce Ismail, Alicia McKenzie, George Panda.
Director: Tim Webb.
Designer: Claire de Loon.
Lighting: Jack Knowles.
Puppets: Sue Dacre.
Wirework: Mogothi ‘The Wire Man’.
Music: Max Reinhardt.