Amazing Drumming Monkeys (**1/2) until Sat, Mar 21, 2009

February 21, 2009

I am a new parent and I need to get used to children’s shows. So, with great anticipation, our little girl accompanied us to see the monkeys.

A dozen or so children ran to the front of the tent and sat on the floor to be closer to the action and they created great atmosphere.

Then two monkey puppets were revealed, sitting at big bongo drums each, where they remained throughout the show.

They drummed enthusiastically. They sang as you would expect monkey puppets to sing. And the children obliged them with choruses of cheers, as the monkeys worked through the standard children’s theatre devices for milking applause and reaction.

However, the show was let down by a number of things, not least being the paucity of “art” in any of the lyrics. The songs were a collection of a few raw lyrics or phrases that seemed to have been strung together on the fly with little crafting and often without any rhyming – the hallmark of children’s songs.

And the puppeteers “corpsed” a few times, lapsing into their natural voices as they shared with the audience they had fluffed some lines or were having trouble with the props.

These might all be forgivable were it not for some very misleading quotes in the blurb for the show. Whomever it was at The Advertiser who wrote “beating Hi-Five hands down” or at The Territory Times who wrote “the next Wiggles”, should be relieved of their reviewing duties. This act has potential but clearly needs plenty of work before it is truly ready to be placed in the company of the aforementioned acts. It is raw and unpolished and survives thanks to good old cutesy “furry creature syndrome”.  

Please also note that this reviewer did not hear any “beautiful postive messages”, rather he heard one or two empty, tokenistic slogans like “trees are good”. Wow.

Having said all this, I must note that the children did jump and clap and seemed to enjoy expending energy amid the drumming.