Although you might not think it from the current weather we are having, but the summer holidays are in full swing. Parents all over the country have been tasked with filling six weeks with fun activities for their children, and if these can be relatively inexpensive and don’t result in the depletion of their IQ’s, then all the better. For the most part, parental enjoyment is rarely a factor when choosing entertainment during the summer holidays. Which is why shows like The Star Seekers at the National Theatre are such a rare find. Combining improv, singing and good old fashioned silliness, the production is 50 minutes of delightful recreation for children and adults alike. The creative team behind this gem is The Wardrobe Ensemble, whose previous shows (e.g. Education, Education, Education, RIOT, 1972: The Future of Sex) have captivated audiences of all ages.
The show starts before the audience even enter the auditorium. As soon as you step into the foyer of the Dorfman Theatre, or should I say ‘The London Space Station’, children are guided to crafting terminals where they can make their own space suits, choose their star seeker name and are given a programme packed with fun projects and information.
After each star seeker is properly dressed for their journey into space, they are ushered into the auditorium and separated; star seekers sitting on mats on the stage and their parents behind them on chairs. What follows is the story of Alph (Ben Vardy), Betty (Jesse Meadows) and Gammo (Jack Drewry) who are on a quest to retrieve three special orbs from across the solar system and beyond. The plot is well-structured, easy to follow, and manages to hold the attention of every youngster in the room. This is mainly due to the shows interactive nature. The audience are encouraged to dance at various intervals, sing, throw paper balls, and share their knowledge of space (which also serves as a refresher for adults who perhaps don’t know as many scientific facts as they used to!).
Throughout the show, the children are asked to think creatively about what aliens or planets might sound like or what they might be made from (my personal favourite being a planet made of hearts called ‘Love’). The ideas turn into amusing improvised scenes; childish giggles and knowing laughs fill the room as, based on the children’s suggestions, an ice alien (played by Meadows), is warmed (and melted) by a large wood fire.
Overall, if you are looking for a way to entertain, educate and creatively engage young children this summer, then The Star Seekers is the show for you.
The Star Seekers is playing Dorfman Theatre (National Theatre) until 1st September 2018. For more information and tickets, see here.
Photo Credit: Ellie Kurttz