Monday, 27 October 2014

Putting the silly into Dalston - A children's theatre review.

The 'toss the beanbag' stall
Who would have thought that in the heart of Dalston lies the concealed rural village of Silliton, where they are in permanent state of May Day celebrations. You will be lead to the bunting adorned village green by singing Morris dancers (with a distinctly West Country twang) and invited to play ‘toss the bean bag’, ‘splat the rat’ or find out if the raffle ticket you’ve been issued with on arrival wins you a prize, all whilst being serenaded by harmonised folk song. Yes, I think we can definitely say so far the children’s production at the Arcola Theatre of ‘The 3 Sillies’ started off with a bang - or should we say splat. 

This tale of love and potential heart break begins with our hero announcing he is unable to marry his love Rose because, after an incident in the cellar involving a mallet, she and her family are just too silly and so he sets himself a challenge whereby he must travel the earth and discover at least 3 people who he deems sillier before he will consider returning to take Rose’s hand.

So he travels the winding roads of England, the year is 1914 and he quickly discovers numerous acts of completely hysterical silliness with intermittent and brilliantly subtle intimations of the onset of the first world war. A delightful twist is the silliest, silly of all, when our hero travels to France and witnesses the needless mass loss of life. How do you portray the corpse-littered battlefields of Europe tastefully without distress to little ones whilst maintaining warmth and more importantly fun? Watch this production as this was seamlessly achieved. 
Welcome to bunting land!

In this show there was no formal stage and instead the cast with their puppets and musical instruments mingled with the audience seated on the astroturf green. My sons, aged 2 and 4 were captivated especially when some of their ad libs were even adopted into the script by the cast. This was a genuinely enjoyable and charmingly heartwarming production. It is a rare thing indeed that will capture my children’s concentration span past its official expiry time of about half an hour but they loved every minute - all 60 of them! I don’t usually see the ending of most theatre shows as I have invariably had to defect half way through in the name of entertaining my restless children however, this was not the case today. THE THREE SILLIES is being staged at Arcola Theatre as the theatre’s contribution to the National Family Arts Festival in October half term 2014. If you want a morning or an afternoon of thoroughly enjoyable silliness get your tickets here as the village of Silliton is well worth visiting! 

Mumsnet Hackney received a free ticket to the is event in exchange for an honest review. 

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