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Meeting Mr Boom!

20 March 14 words: Alison Emm
"A dance theatre production for children that didn’t break the bank or bore the little ones into fidgeting and wailing"
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I’m not complaining, I had a great childhood, but shows aimed at children in the eighties were usually a strangely disorganised affair that seemed to have missed the memo detailing who they were trying to entertain. Kids’ entertainment has come a long way since I was little…

Lakeside was host to not one, but two performances of Meeting Mr Boom!, a dance theatre production for children that didn’t break the bank or bore the little ones to fidgeting and wailing. Not one word was spoken throughout the play – except from whispered questions from the children in the audience – but who needs words with such joyous action.

It all begins with a young girl, seemingly lost at sea, sat on a mound. She encounters four strangers who burst onto the quiet set and fill it with rhythm and life before whisking her away to a strange new world on an adventure of dance, music and discovery. The new world springs in super quick time, with the mound unrolling and inflating into what can best be described as a bouncy castle set. A brilliant and fun idea that must have taken some skill (and, no doubt, practice) for the performers to still keep playing instruments, while making sure as to not just go flying off the edge - as I’m sure we’ve all done at some point on one of those things.

The main story was told with the help of three covered foam shapes of a yellow circle, a blue triangle and a red and white crescent. These were all ingeniously used to create the sun and moon, a shark’s fin, a boat, a pair of angel wings, a shell, a bow and arrow and target, a ball, and well, loads of things – with big facial expressions and loads of jumping and springing about linking it all together.

Just as the bums on seats seemed to be threatening a mass wriggle as the show got close to its climax, the strange land got a puncture and the characters were all left in a panic. With the help of the audience clapping and blowing, the day was saved and the land re-inflated. Phew! A happy ending for all. And, to make things even better, the cast called all the children up to have a play on the set – which was met by the stampeding of many tiny feet to the stage.

Choreographed by Darren Ellis, with the music composed by Ronen Kozokaro, it was less a narrative through dance than a narrative through dance, music and props. Dance critics may be perplexed at the seeming lack of ‘discipline’ but what they produced was something that had all the children, and most of the adults, in the audience spellbound. 

Meeting Mr Boom! was at Lakeside Arts Theatre on Sunday 16 March 2014.

Meeting Mr Boom official website

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