Laura Valentine reviews Boing! The utterly charming children's theatre offering as part of the 2019 festive season at Bristol Old Vic.

Boing! Rehearsal 1 - CREDIT Cam Adams

Image - Wilkie Branson and Kel Matsena in Boing! rehearsals - CREDIT Cam Adams

As my two and half year old daughter and I settled into our seats in the Weston Studio at Bristol Old Vic, the first thing she noticed was a great big bed in the middle of the room covered in scribble and ‘big blue lights’ shining down on the floor.  

We were there to watch the Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic co-production of Boing! A dance-theatre story about two brothers waiting for the arrival of Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. In all the excitement, they can’t sleep a wink and so what follows is a night of pillow fights, boats trips, superheroes, playing with teddies and breakdancing!  

Boing! had all the joyful, infectious charm that I’ve come to expect from Bristol Old Vic and Travelling Light children’s theatre shows and my daughter certainly seemed to agree. She was belly-laughing as the boys jumped and spun around, the biggest laughs from her came when they were bouncing up and down repeatedly on the bed making silly faces each time they popped back up.  

Even in the quieter moments, she was watching with intense fascination and asking me, ‘what’s those mans doing Mummy?’ and ‘shh, they are sleeping now’.

What’s wonderful about this Sally Cookson directed production is that it’s so relaxed for children. They can laugh really loudly (and did!), ask questions, catch the teddies and within reason move about a little. I spent quite a lot of the time watching her face too, and watching her falling in love with the enchanting wonder of live theatre was wonderful and just as magical as the story itself.  

Boing! Rehearsal 2 - CREDIT Cam Adams

Image - Wilkie Branson and Kel Matsena in Boing! rehearsals with Sally Cookson - CREDIT Cam Adams

The show's infectious energy is utterly charming and captures the child-like magic of Christmas Eve, delighting anyone young or old with a vivid imagination.

Boing! runs for 50 minutes and is recommended for ages 2-7. It runs until Sunday 5 Jan 2020 and tickets starts from £10, with discounts for groups, schools and friends. There are tickets left for most performances, particularly those after Christmas Day. Click here to find out more and book tickets.

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