Review: Here Be Monsters at Theatre Royal Winchester

We went along to the opening weekend of Mayflower Productions’ new show, Here Be Monsters at Winchester Theatre Royal. The show will be coming to Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre this November.

Full of energy, the cast of five performers told the story of Captain Cut-Throat and his crew of pirates, in search of an island full of treasure. The crew were worried about the monster-infested waters but the Captain sailed on, telling them “Monsters simply don’t exist”.

The show was true to the book (now a favourite on our bookshelf), with the story retold almost word for word. The rhythmic style of the writing needed no altering , but songs and jokes were added in along the way to make the performance more lively and entertaining. The costumes helped us to recognise each character from the book, although a few of the characters were kept out of the show. I don’t think any extra characters were needed as there would have been too much going on for young children to keep up with. The five characters were more than enough to keep little ones engaged throughout the performance.

Music was a big part of the show, with each actor playing a different instrument and the instruments also being used to make some of the sound effects live on stage.

The monsters were puppets and not too scary (in fact the baby ones were rather cute) and the monsters burping after catching the crew added to the audience’s amusement!

My four year old was a little unsure when we walked into the auditorium and he saw the staging with the pirate flag (even though he loves anything to do with pirates), as he thought it would be scary. The opening announcement was made by Stinky O’Bleary over the speakers, followed by a rather loud trump! Fear turned into laughter and he was soon repeating each funny line the pirates said while giggling away to himself. At the end of the show he didn’t want to leave and was asking when we could go and see it again!

At just under an hour long with no interval, it was just the right length and pace to keep young children interested without getting restless. The actors clearly enjoyed what they were doing, which came across in their performance and there was good interaction between the performers and the audience throughout. It’s also worth noting our ten year old daughter enjoyed the show too, so in my opinion it’s definitely one worth watching for families with children age 3 and upwards and an ideal first theatre visit for young children.

Image credit:

Text copyright © Jonathan Emmett 2013

Illustration copyright © Poly Bernatene 2013

First published 2013 by Macmillan Children’s Books

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