Although younger audiences are often the harshest critics, enjoyable and engaging children’s theatre does not need lavish sets, costumes or gimmicks. Flicker and the Flying Books, a new production presented by the Royal Exchange, with props made out of paper, had all of the young, curious theatre-goers joining in with the performers, following simple movements, laughing and clapping. All going to prove that interaction, music and familiarity are key when trying to put on a show for 3 – 8 year olds.
Flicker and the Flying Books is being presented by the Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company, a scheme for young people aged 14-21, together with the Elders’ Company, a practical drama and theatre making project for anyone over 60. This wonderfully imaginative theatrical caper is also produced in partnership with Manchester Children’s Book Festival, which runs until the 5th July 2015.
Everybody is very busy and Benji (Jake Mainwaring) is bored and the last thing that he wants to do is read a book, “ A book? Boring! Books are boring!”…That is until the marvellous Flicker (Judith Wood) starts throwing books from the shelves and flicking through pages revealing a magical world that Benji never knew existed.
Directed by Andrew Barry, Flicker and the Flying Books has been developed by the whole company together with Matt Hassall and Josie Hepplewhite and features original music by talented Young Company member Abigayle Bartley. The soundscape is enriched by the companies voices, notably Matt Boylan, who collaboratively manage to create a bustling environment, an underwater paradise and a prehistoric dinosaur plain.
The simple but effective set design by Meriel Pym sees the ensemble make a dinosaur, Rapunzel’s golden hair and the Little Mermaid purely out of paper – it is all that the young audience need to trigger their vivid imaginations.
Flicker and the Flying Books is a refreshing, lively and positive new piece of theatre for a young audience; it is wonderful to see the Elders’ Company and the Young Company working together, listening and sharing each others ideas. Running at around 30 minutes, I would recommend Flicker and the Flying Books suitable for ages 3-6 years old. The production is completely free to watch but you must book in advance by calling the Royal Exchange box office on 0161 833 9833.
Flicker and the Flying Books is being performed on 4th July 2015 at 11:00am and 2:30pm at Manchester Central Library. Tickets are FREE but you must book in advance. Please call 0161 833 9833.
Flicker and the Flying Books is also showing at New Vic Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent on 11th July 2015.