I had seen some adverts for ‘Chalk About’ at the Riverfront Theatre Newport recently and when I was asked to review the show I of course was looking forward to it, there hasn’t been a show that I haven’t enjoyed with my girls so far. I had a look at the trailer and wasn’t sure my youngest would be able to understand the content very well, but decided to take both my girls along to the show and see what it was all about.
The show started before we’d actually taken our seats, Christine and Neil were already drawing all over the floor with chalk. We took our seats and we sat and watched the duo doodling on the floor.
Then next came some interaction with the children in the audience, my eldest girl was so keen to jump up and have her silhouette drawn on the floor that she nearly bounced out of her seat to be involved, she was very proud of her shape that stayed on the floor throughout the performance.
Christine and Neil started the dialogue with the audience about the things they were told by children about what they would like to see in a children’s show, this part really made me smile, because it included dinosaurs, Beyonce, No art and no romance! This really is a snap shot of a child’s wonderful mind I thought.
So began the ‘story’, and the dancing, the very expressive and intriguing dancing, the sort of child like conversation that kept the children in the audience interested and the words that took us all on an emotional roller-coaster. I really felt as though I got to know the performers in this show, even though one of their stories wasn’t even in English, the emotions and way in which the stories were told were captivating, and showed that spoken word isn’t always necessary for communicating a story.
Amongst the dancing, talking and music there were also some white balloons, with white felt people attached, the white chalk I mentioned, oh and the white clothing of the dancers, plus some white sheets and a pretty little cloud which was white, of course. This really is a contrast to the usual children’s shows that are usually full of colour and noise, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, just different.
As the performers took us through the scenes, keeping us all engaged along the way I really couldn’t help feeling the emotions with the act, because everything was just so simple, it was hard not to be drawn into the performance.
During the show there was a small segment that let us hear from other children via a recording, it was again a simple idea but it was heart wrenching listening to the young voices speak of things that bother them.
At the end I was feeling quite surprised at how quickly the time had flown and just how emotional I felt, my girls sat quietly throughout and they both enjoyed it even if one of them is a bit younger than the target audience. It was lovely to see them enjoying yet another great theatre experience and they have talked about it a lot since, I think it helped them explore their own emotions and open up conversations that they might otherwise have felt difficult to approach, and they have been copying Chalk About and dancing around the room whilst talking about moving topics, which is very sweet and so funny in equal measures. I think it’svery important that children feel able to talk about things that make them sad as well as happy.
Overall I really didn’t know what to expect from Chalk About, and even once it had finished I wasn’t sure what I had seen, however I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed Chalk About and so did my girls.
Thank you to the Chalk About team and the Riverfront for a lovely afternoon with my girls.
To find more from Unicorn Theatre click here- Unicorn Theatre