Dance? Mime? Theatre? Peut-Etre . . .

When I was asked to review a children’s show called Tidy Up, I immediately anticipated an hour or so of theatrical fun. I also gleefully anticipated that my children, aged five and nine, would receive a subliminal message that tidiness is COOL! I was not disappointed.

The three Tidy Up performers had a giggling North Wall audience in the palms of their hands from the very beginning, accompanying the slapping of their hands on their bottoms with cheeky, over the shoulder winks. With the performers enjoying themselves, the fun was infectious.

Peut-Etre Theatre Company inform us that it has set out to discover whether chaos and order can coexist. Can tidiness be exciting for children? Can chaos be joyful for us adults?

Picture mischievous grins onstage while table tennis balls are being popped out of a carton and immediately tidied back into it. Picture six large bowls of single-colour pom-poms being thrown and scattered onto the floor to audible gasps from the young audience. Watch as every child invited on stage enters it quietly and calmly tidies the hundreds of pom-poms with not only efficiency but great enthusiasm! Could we as parents replicate this enjoyment with our children during tidy up time at home?!

Picture a performer as a ballet-dancing, confetti-collecting green mop, and another engaged in hilarious acrobatic antics whilst being suctioned by a vacuum cleaner . . . see, children? It can be fun using a mop and a vacuum!  There are more surprises and chuckles to be had, including a scene played at breakneck pace involving large 3D foam shapes, popcorn, balloons, fairy lights and three dads from the audience.

My five-year-old perched on the edge of his seat and giggled for the show’s entirety. He liked the music and thought it was really funny; he especially loved going up onstage to tidy up, as did my nine-year-old. (Yes, you read that correctly!).

More overall structure would be beneficial to this performance, but single quibble aside, Tidy Up is a very clever show, packed with engaging ideas tailored to enthuse and enthral a young audience. It is performed with a lovely combination of slapstick and seriousness, with over-expressive faces that comminucate perfectly to children.

Can tidying up be fun for children and can chaos be fun for adults?

Peut-Etre? No. Absolument? Yes. Don’t let your youngsters miss it.

Lisia Newmark

12th March 2018

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