From bird watching and nature to life and friendship, Unicorn Theatre’s new show, Marvin’s Binoculars, is a must-see for younger audiences. Within the first minute, I am taken aback by the skill of these performers, both vocally and performance-wise, as well as the creativity of the show as a whole. I find myself forgetting that the two child characters, Marvin and Sita, aren’t actually nine-year-old bird watchers.
Marvin’s Binoculars is a show aimed at children aged 6-10 and it caters well to this audience. Through a mixture of animation, live performance, music, and sound effects, we are constantly engaged with the story. This makes it extremely effective for younger audiences who may have a shorter attention span as it gives the show an exciting and fresh feel throughout. For parents or older audiences, the regular change of animation to live performance could make the show feel a bit more cluttered and overwhelming, however, I found it helped me remain interested in the story despite my age! I also enjoy the simple narrative arc of the story as a whole whilst not losing any substance or grit, as it makes it much easier for people of all ages to follow and remain invested in the story.
This show touches on many topics that are interwoven beautifully through the theme of nature. We learn that Marvin, played by Shaka Kalokoh, has recently lost his grandmother, we find friendship, acceptance and forgiveness through the characters of Sita and The Warden, played by Safiyya Ingar and Sophie Stanton respectively, as well as learning about animals and nature as a whole. Marvin’s Binoculars doesn’t shy away from sometimes taboo topics such as death, which is nice to see as I think conversations surrounding these topics get rid of some of the scariness and unknowns of natural life occurrences. With this being said, we also have a nice amount of humour which parents and adults could enjoy, such as a moment where we see the classic “but…but…but…” moment from Marvin to his mother, which we are all familiar with and can find comedic. Overall, I find this show to be educational in a fun way, I even come away knowing more about native English birds, making it the perfect watch for young audiences.
It is also worth noting that the actors, specifically Kalokoh and Ingar, play their roles with such accuracy and precision that it makes the characters believable, even for adults. I particularly enjoy Kalokoh’s bird calling as it adds a new audio aspect to the show alongside the other pre-recorded audio effects, keeping us as an audience on our toes and in anticipation for more surprises.
Seeing a show about nature and being social and outdoors is refreshing to see in a very technology-heavy world. I think this show will get more children excited to be in nature or learn more about the world rather than being on a phone. Marvin’s Binoculars is a great conversation starter to get kids excited to learn more about the world, making it the perfect family show to get younger children talking and exploring!
Marvin’s Binoculars is available on Unicorn Theatre’s YouTube channel. For more information about Marvin’s Binocular’s and the possibility of it visiting your school see Unicorn Theatre’s website.