from Thursday, December 5, 2019 in the Basingstoke Gazette
by Emily Roberts
If you’re looking for a quality theatre experience for the family to enjoy, but you don’t want to pay the hefty price some venues charge, then Proteus is the place to go.
The award-winning theatre company based in Council Road, Basingstoke puts on inspiring productions for all ages, and it’s festive show A Christmas Knight is just that.
The one-man brand new show by Scratchbuilt Productions uses props, puppets, and plenty of audience participation to engage the children, while the adults are kept amused with funny jokes and silly humour.
We left thoroughly entertained and feeling festive
The story follows Jack who takes part in the annual Knight Trials in the kingdom of Bravely on Christmas Day, held to find someone who has what it takes to become a knight. But the youngster faces a big challenge when he comes face to face with a fire-breathing dragon.
The compact simple set was perfect for the intimate space and was cleverly designed to transform into different scenes to capture the audience’s imagination. It took a while to warm up, but once I embraced the craziness of one person playing all the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Different sized puppets of the same characters were used to gain visual perspective, which I thought was genius. It encouraged the children to used their imagination, much like listening to a story but with added visual stimulation.
At one point members of the audience were invited on stage to fire a bow and arrow. i was bursting with pride when my three-year-old son was chosen, and confidently headed to the front on his own to hit the bullseye.
He and my nephew of the same age were completely engaged throughout the hour-long show, which also had a short interval. They enthusiastically joined in with patting their knees to make the sound of a horse galloping, shouting our their favourite ice cream flavour and cheering the winners of the horse trials.
It was the perfect length for young children, and a great introduction to the theatre for those who might be experiencing a show for the first time.
The story included some valuable life lessons such as not to judging someone based on what they look like. When the dragon appeared, thankfully it wasn’t too scary for the little ones watching.
At the end, the actor invited the children up on stage to try on his armour which they all loved. It was the perfect length for young children, and a great introduction for those who might be experiencing a show for the first time..
Whilst the venue doesn’t have the grandeur of a larger theatre, the smaller setting offers intimacy instead. This gem in Basingstoke town centre is offering affordable arts for the whole family, and I hope more people support it.
It was a delightful way to start the weekend, and we left thoroughly entertained and feeling festive.
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