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Review of Back In Time For Breakfast by Munchkins & Monsters Theatre Company at The Umbrella Fair 2016, Northampton

Munchkins and Monsters Theatre Company had what I personally consider two of the toughest audiences to keep entertained; a bunch of four, five, six, and whatever year olds gathered in a constantly distracting and sweltering tent with rock music emanating from another nearby tent; and myself surrounded by aforementioned children and in that sweltering tent. They had much to do to keep us absorbed in their performance of Back In Time For Breakfast. I have to say though thats against my fears at the start, very surprisingly this lively show managed to do just that, and for the best part me included.

Trapped in a secluded lighthouse with her family, Millie (Laura Richardson) dreams of magical journeys and on one night with a little wish on a star, a mysterious traveler, Jasper (Dale Forder) crashes his flying ship on the island and that magical journey becomes a reality.

This little piece has been lovingly created to encapture perhaps everything required of a children's entertainment show. Its brings gurning faces, silly dancing, jolly music, bright colours and a nice collection of simple, but very effective puppets. Providing the adults who have accompanied the children to the show with entertainment is a surprising amount of intelligent storytelling of an environmental (but never ever preaching) nature. It provides the perfect balance with silly fun from those like Percy the Penguin, and onto actually quite powerful imagery of the restoration of the ocean, via the most simple of things an umbrella as a jellyfish. It all allows the children to be happily taken in by their waving of the handouts and the adults to have perhaps a few more contemplative moments.
Dale Forder and Laura Richardson
There are several really great scenes during the show, a couple of favourites being the reconstruction of the ship with all its dancing and nicely constructed rountine, and then the fabulous nit-picking monkey who happily travails the crowd to the delight of the children and some of the adults. The audience interaction pieces are perhaps the best way to gauge a success of a show like this, and pretty much most of them were loving it and eager to be the one to have the chance of tossing the old sock at the big cat (you had to be there).
Dale Forder and Laura Richardson
As performers Dale Forder and Laura Richardson do everything that you would want from a childrens show, full of highly expressive faces and lively motion, making everything deliberately bigger and bolder than it needs to be to keep those distracted eyes on them.

This likeable pairing of performers coupled with an apparently simple tale full of hidden depths provides a great little show, which when performed it a more accommodating location is absolutely sure to keep the kids thrilled. Couple that with the fact you can then get your picture taken with Percy the Penguin at the end, makes this a sure fire hit.

Performance reviewed: Sunday 21st August, 2016 at the Umbrella Fair 2016, Northampton. 

Munchkins And Monsters have a website for details of upcoming shows at http://www.munchkinsandmonsterstheatre.co.uk/

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