The first in a series of reviews of live performances created specifically for children. Find out what’s happening in a theatre near you – take along your class to a show or invite a professional company to visit your school. By Louise (38) and Maisie (7).
The Buildy-Uppy Dance Show. 30th May 2017 Attenborough Arts: Leicester
This interactive dance show is created and performed by Anna Williams and Tom Roden of Anatomical. It takes you on a magical journey as a story unfolds about two friends and their adventures in a small village on a mountain. As soon as we enter the theatre, everyone is handed a cardboard box and we are encouraged to build and play, which sets up the premise for the whole show – our expectations are set to be an active participant in the action. At regular intervals, we are invited back into the space to build, re-build, explore and dance: one child is selected to become a king and we are suddenly his loyal subjects; we learn a clapping and stepping pattern that is then performed in two lines. The interaction between audience and performer creates an atmosphere that is friendly, fun and funny.
And boxes feature throughout the entire performance – they are a mountain range, the castle, stalagmites and a village at different points in the show. Having a prop to manipulate and manage takes the focus off our bodies and helps us to engage in the story without feeling self-conscious or embarrassed. There are excellent sculptures created by children and adults alike and it is almost disappointing to see them disappear and morph into something else!
Although the show’s premise is simple, our sense of wonder is invoked on many occasions – dancers and candles appear in unexpected places and provide some beautifully poignant moments. The story is compelling and is accompanied by some brilliant contemporary dance. My favourite part? the dramatic effect of the avalanche! The show is wonderfully simple and brilliantly magical, accessible to all and great entertainment.
What was the show about? Boxes and a story
What was the best thing about the performance? Building the village.
What did you like about the performers? How they acted it out.
Did any parts make you feel happy or make you laugh? Yes, when the girl got back to the village so she can see all her friends.
Did any parts make you feel sad or scared? No.
Was there anything you didn’t like about the performance? Just the sprouts bit as it made me feel a bit silly!
Would you recommend this show to your friends and why? Yes, because it’s really good and active for us [the audience].
Any other comments? I didn’t know that I was going to be dancing in it. I thought I was going to be watching a show in the dark. I liked it where you had to walk in in two lines and meet the other line – I liked dancing with the other girl. When can I see it again?!
Draw a face of how you felt after the performance:
The Buildy-Uppy Dance Show is touring this May half-term. To find out more visit buildyuppydance.com or Facebook @buildyuppydance