All the way from the UK, The Blunderbus Theatre Company .
Having read the story, Giraffes Can't Dance to some kids at one of my storytelling sessions, it was a wonderful opportunity to catch Gerald in the 'flesh' at the musical play. Also, it was the grandest, not-to -be -missed chance to take a few residents from Selangor Cheshire Home for a special outing with my Sunshine friend, Leni. The last time we were out for a puppet performance was when The Man Who Planted Trees was playing at the old venue of Actors Studio in Bangsar.
The specially outfitted van can only accommodate 6 residents, three in wheelchairs and 3 walking aided with a frame and a caretaker. We met them at the entrance of PJLA really well ahead of time at 9.15 am.
A ticket each, all in jubilant mood. Thanks to Linda of SCBWI (Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators) for offering 2 tickets to Leni and me.
Count us in! Anyone can be a kid all over again!
Everyone was excited. They were assured of a truly memorable enjoyment, even without my seeing it live yet. I like the book so much to stake my claim !!
We were the first in for ease of seating arrangments. The residents in their wheelchairs were comfortably placed by the usherers. Before long, troops of kids, really little ones, hand in hand, filed into the auditorium. Soon the hall was filled with lively chatter - the kids in school uniforms, were bubbling with excitement. It was so infectious. The teachers tried to calm them as some were standing on the seats. The kids were from 6 different schools.
In Giraffes Can't Dance, the cast brings to life Giles Andreae's spirited story with their huge, handsome handcrafted puppets. Together with the lyrical prose of Giles Andreae, the play injects music and lively movements to capture our hearts.
Shy Gerald who towers above all the heads of the animals finds it hard to fit in among the jungle animals. He is quite alone. Why? His bandy legs do not make him a favourite. How the animals mock him when he shows up at the annual Jungle Dance. While the warthogs, baboons, chimpanzees, lions boogie away, poor Gerald cuts a sad and lonesome creature.
'Giraffes can't dance, you silly fool. Oh, Gerald, don't be daft!' Luckily, a cricket friend encourages Gerald to do it his own way . Says the cricket, ' But sometimes when you're different / You need a different song.' Gerald just needs to find his own beat and tune to dance to. A miracle happens when Gerald begins to believe in himself and dances marvellously.
There was great interactivity with the kids by the antics of the cast - Gerald hiding among them, a butterfly hovering on someone's head, playful chimpanzees squirting water with water pistols at them and, oh! some playful messing of someone's head too!
I was caught to 'party' and dance with the animals. Don't ask me what animal I was . I just danced like a pro! I tickled the chimpanzee who came by. Yes, I got squirted at!! I touched the soft wings of the butterfly. See, I'm really a kid !
The play was so vibrant, fun and colourful. The huge puppets got a high five from me for props. The kids got to see the person behind the puppet as he was not all covered up from head to toe. For the young audience of 4 -8 years old, the play was just right, with a simple storyline and enough engaging little bits of storytelling interspersed to make it so wholesome.
Theatre for kids is no kid's play! Catch the odd adults (usually parents, grandmas ) and they are living their childhood moments all over again! As for the residents of Selangor Cheshire Home, shaking hands and giving Gerald a high five sealed off the great moments rarely enjoyed. Their wide grins and thumbs -up sign said it all. So, bring on more kids' theatre !
Show's over but Gerald is TOPS!