Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Cloudcuckooland - Everyman Theatre, Liverpool

Cloudcuckooland by Stephen Sharkey
Music by Alex Silverman
Director: Helen Eastman
Musical Director: Helen Sharp
Reviewer: John Roberts & Phoebe (age 7)

Translating Aristophanes's The Birds for a one hour family show is by no means an easy feat, but the Onassis Programme have managed to take on the task head first and create a show that has a strong modern eco-moral.

Swift and Mcfly are fed up with their city being in a mess, and when a strange bird is found hiding in their dustbin they set flight to the clouds and team up with the birds and create their own new city Cloudcuckooland, there they plot and scheme to get revenge on the human race by an unprecedented pooping campaign, but all is not lost for the human race if they agree to clean up their act and lend their part in saving the planet.

For me personally this show was dwarfed by the Everyman stage, and the performances fell a little flat because of this. The songs with in the production sounded fantastic from a musical aspect but not having the actors microphoned really meant that even in Row J you couldn't hear the cast over the sound of the onstage band.

There are some clever touches in keeping the young at heart interested for the hour long duration, panto style chases through the audience, balloon blowing to create Cloudcuckooland, and using ideas from the postcards written by the children in the audience before the show started.

You cannot fault the small cast of Actor/Musicians who battle their way through this production giving 100% but one feels that they are having to deal with too many props and set pieces to allow the story to really come through. Direction by Helen Eastman seems to be a two way street with some exciting and original ideas, but again at times the show appears to loose its momentum.

I am sure that if this was performed in a 150-200 seat studio theatre it would be the theatrical event it wants to be, but I don't think this production is strong enough or capable to hold its own in the 500 seat thrust auditorium of the Everyman Theatre.

I thought the show was very funny, and I loved being able to take part by blowing balloons, and having the characters run through the seats, I laughed a lot when the birds pooed on stage. I love singing and music but you couldn't hear all the words because the music was too loud.

Cloudcuckooland runs at the Everyman Theatre until Sat 11th April 09
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