Not so scary af­ter all

> UK’s Big Wooden Horse Theatre Com­pany’s Mon­ster­saurus is an en­ter­tain­ing treat for both chil­dren and adults

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY BISSME S.

THEATRE pro­duc­tions that are aimed at the young are few and far be­tween on our lo­cal stage. But in re­cent years, Gard­ner & Wife Theatre – a Malaysian theatre com­pany founded in 2000 by Chae Lian and Richard Gard­ner – has been play­ing a vi­tal role to bridge this gap by bring­ing in plays from over­seas cater­ing specif­i­cally for chil­dren and teens.

The latest pro­duc­tion pre­sented by this hus­band-and­wife team is Mon­ster­saurus which is cur­rently play­ing at PJ Live Arts in Jaya One, Pe­tal­ing Jaya, till Sun­day.

Staged by the Big Wooden Horse Theatre Com­pany from the United King­dom, the show is an adap­ta­tion of a book by award-win­ning au­thor Claire Freed­man and il­lus­tra­tor Ben Cort, the cre­ators of pop­u­lar book series Aliens Love Un­der­pants.

Mon­ster­saurus cen­tres on young Monty, who is an in­ven­tor. But his cre­ations do not al­ways work.

His walk­ing toaster runs away, and his ro­bot goes berserk. Then, he stum­bles upon a book on how to cre­ate mon­sters.

He cre­ates a mon­ster called Bon­glob and later, another mon­ster named Dusty. Un­for­tu­nately, the two mon­sters have gone into hid­ing in his room.

Monty now lives in con­stant fear that his mother, Mum (played by So­phie Steel), will find out about the mon­sters he has cre­ated.

So he de­cides to cre­ate another big­ger mon­ster called Mon­ster­saurus who man­ages to help him get rid of both Bon­glob and Dusty.

The two then form a spe­cial friend­ship. Mon­ster­saurus even in­tro­duces Monty to his fam­ily.

The story teaches that dif­fer­ences should not stop you from mak­ing friends.

Big Wooden Horse Theatre Com­pany is known across the UK and abroad for its high­qual­ity theatre per­for­mances for younger au­di­ences.

The com­pany be­lieves that young peo­ple de­serve the high­est qual­ity of writ­ing, per­for­mance and pro­duc­tion that a pro­fes­sional theatre com­pany can of­fer.

This is ev­i­dent in Mon­ster­saurus. The play has hu­mour, mu­sic and dance, and the ac­tors also suc­ceed in get­ting the young au­di­ence to par­tic­i­pate ac­tively in the play.

The mon­ster pup­pets, Bon­glob and Dusty (voiced with gusto by Mark Col­lier), are cute with each mon­ster com­ing across with its own per­son­al­ity.

Col­lier also takes on the cos­tumed role of Mon­ster­saurus.

Monty is bril­liantly played by Har­ri­son Spiers, who man­ages to bring a sense of in­no­cence to his char­ac­ter with his child-like man­ner­isms.

His per­for­mance is amaz­ing to watch. Even the cute mon­sters can­not over­shadow him.

The show lies di­rectly on his shoul­ders and he de­liv­ers a mas­ter­ful per­for­mance.

The in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the pup­pets and hu­man ac­tors is also in­ter­est­ing to watch.

The show is lively, and I must say the joy­ful feel­ings it in­vokes are in­fec­tious.

You can feel the en­ergy mov­ing from the stage to the crowd. Every­one in the au­di­ence, even the adults, seems to be en­joy­ing the show.

If I have any com­plaints, it’s that the show is just too short. How­ever, this weak­ness is eas­ily over­looked.

Suf­fice it to say that the chil­dren leave the theatre hall with big smiles on their faces.

Like the chil­dren, I too, walk away from the show with a smile on my face.

So catch the play be­fore it fin­ishes its run this Sun­day. For more, visit the PJ Live Arts web­site.


Bril­liant per­for­mance … (left) Spiers’ Monty and Col­lier’s Mon­ster­saurus bring­ing smiles to the faces of their au­di­ence both young and old in this Big Wooden Horse Theatre Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion (top), hap­pen­ing at PJ Live Arts till Sun­day.

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