Okay, So what I’m about to tell you may provoke some cringing.
Before Christmas I went to the theater…all alone.
Yes, that is a very sad state of affairs, but it’s true. I went on my little tod, all the way to the bright lights of London, and there I sat, surrounded by families and groups of friends, clutching my ticket in my single seat, listening to the joyful giggles and playful interactions of those around me and sighed…alone.
But there’s more. Not only was I the only solo member of the audience that day, I was also the oldest. By some way. Or at least, the oldest that wasn’t there primarily as some kind of guardian.
Yep. I went on my own to the theater to see a play for children. Little children at that.
And before you sink your head into your hands at, what is very likely, the most socially pathetic tale you’ve read today, let me just clarify this scenario and explain why it is that I refuse to be ashamed by this.
I went to see the stage adaptation of John Klassen’s I want my Hat back.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the reason this make the sorrowful tale any better, is that I want my Hat Back is probably the greatest children’s book ever written ever and I was absolutely fascinated by the prospect of how those fantastic, simplistic, enigmatic illustrations could POSSIBLY translate into real life people on stage.
Turns out they do. Really bloomin’ well actually.
With some stonkingly suitable music from Arthur Darvill and Joel Horwood and a number of outstandingly weird performances from the energetic, multitasking cast (I didn’t think it was possible for a human to become generic ambient forest quite so convincingly!) the show was a genuine delight from the start.
On entering to the stage, following behind an absurdly yarn bombed, argyle-socks and waist high shorts donning antlered band, I was immediately in love with the dated, 70’s appeal of the set. The perfectly haphazzard, retro costume choices and array of mismatched, flea market blankets strewn elegantly around, seemed to have the very heart and quirk of that book directly on tap; tipping it out in front of me time and time again throughout the show in a pile of retro quirk and charm.
From the three eared rabbit and Led Zeppelin tshirt sporting bear to an impossibly perfect use of lounge-lift music, it was by far the most magical and downright absurd hour and a half of my festive period. And to be honest, based on my experience of the book, I wouldn’t have expected or wanted anything less.
If any of you are in the vicinity and have the chance, I wouldn’t hesitate to check out this little gem, with or without little ones. It’s wonderful and enchanting and yet another example of how beautifully and bizarrely children’s entertainment is progressing into something really special.
I left inspired and energised (and just in time to catch some great winter-sunset light!). Because if there are grow up imaginations making books and stage plays like this now, I cannot wait to see what the kids of the future; brought up on a diet of media as magic as this, will be capable of.
Peace OUT and a happy new year