Monkey Bars

Chris Goode

Traverse 2

From 14 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: **

Review by Philip Fisher

Chris Goode has come up with a concept that might well currently be unique. Bucking the maxim that children should be seen but not heard, he has created a Verbatim Theatre piece out of the thoughts of a bunch of primary school children.

Six adaptable actors, Philip Bosworth, Angela Clerkin, Jacquetta May, Christian Roe, Gwyneth Strong, Gordon Warnecke, take it in turns to play Karl James the adult interviewer and the children. 

There is no structure to the interviews, which means that while certain subjects are addressed by two or three children, they seemingly come at random.

There is such a wide range that life, the universe and everything seem to be covered in just under 90 minutes. Religion and gender and generational differences are perhaps the ripest topics for investigation.

The problem with children is that for the most part, they are very predictable and say no more than one would expect. The interest comes where one suddenly comes up with an unexpected response, which might point to some morsel of sedition in the making.

At the opening performance, reactions from the entirely adult audience seemed mixed. Those that are charmed and amazed that children can make fairly sensible statements were amused and delighted. Others seemed less bowled over by a series of views that lacked subtlety and sophistication which is, after all, the purpose of childhood.