FRINGE REVIEW – Charlie Chuck’s Chuckasaurus Show

*****

It’s only fair to say that we saw only the first half of Charlie Chuck’s Chuckasaurus Show, having left after swearing during the performance by the cast.

Things may have improved after we left – a quite impressive T-Rex puppet entered just as we exited. What we had seen looked under-rehearsed, and while it had plenty of jokes, these didn’t appear to be amusing the children they were meant to be entertaining. The story, which was based around Charlie and his family finding themselves inexplicably transported back to the prehistoric era, hadn’t developed at all, and there wasn’t much interaction to speak of with the children in the audience.

Quite possibly we were missing the point. The show makes most sense if you know the character of Charlie Chuck, a creation of the alternative comedian David Kear, who’s also performing an adult Charlie Chuck show at this venue. This children’s piece has the surreal, chaotic quality associated with the character, and polish and plot are probably not what it is aiming at. The loose structure allows for comic improvisation, songs, and joke-telling which may well strike a chord with children familiar with a kids’ TV comedy show format, and its silliness and absurdity should, in theory, certainly appeal to young audiences. We were at the opening performance, and doubtless the swearing was accidental.

This is an event which audiences will probably either ‘get’, or which will leave them cold – the ten year old I attended with was bored, but there were a few adults in our audience who clearly loved it. The fact remains, though, that this is a children’s show, and on those terms, at the performance we attended at least, it missed the mark.

21-24 August, 11:35 (1 hr) 5+

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