Ring A Ding Ding at the Unicorn Theatre

Ring A Ding Ding is described as a “table top voyage of discovery”.

Neither myself nor my kids had any idea of what this might mean, and so we took ourselves down to the lovely Unicorn Theatre by Tower Bridge in the hope of finding out.

Walking in to this intriguing performance for pre-schoolers, we were each handed a weird and wonderful hat. My boys were too shy (or too cool) to wear theirs, but how could I refuse the offer?! Once inside the studio theatre, the children got to meander their way through a walkway of hoops and bells. Then as the doors closed we were asked to take our seats by the… Er… Strange table-type stage.

Specially designed, it is essentially an outsized ring-shaped wooden table. There are actually two concentric rings which move in opposite directions. The actors are inside the ring, while the little ones sit with their elbows on the table – their curious parents right behind them. And so the show began. It is a simple tale of a little girl who goes in search of her beloved lost dog. What makes this production by interactive theatre company Oily Cart so special is that the characters are played both by actors and puppet versions of themselves. The original music is catchy and the set and props are all crafted from a host of recyclables.

As the human girl sings her way through the story, her tiny alter-ego brings the action to life on the moving set. Her journey takes her from home to sea, then out to a desert island and eventually to space. Meanwhile the kids get very involved in the action, helping the puppets to travel faster and faster, heaving on a rope that sends them out to sea, searching for choccy biccies and even teaching the doleful man in the moon how to dance.

Audience participation is always a winner with kids, but Ring A Ding Ding takes this to new heights as the little ones really feel as if they are an integral part of the performance.

Ring A Ding Ding at the Unicorn Theatre until 30 December 2011. Book tickets

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