The Elephantom, New London Theatre, London. July 2014.
The best thing about being an auntie (apart from the cuddles) is being able to share books and other experiences with my nephew. He's already turning into a junior bookworm and I'm pleased to say that his theatre habit is coming along quite nicely too...
His birthday treat this year was an outing to London to see the Elephantom but we were so lucky with the weather that it turned into a whole day of fun including a trip on the river, hunting for book benches, an introduction to the Globe and a picnic before we even got to the theatre!
On a hot day the New London Theatre was a delight with the cool air conditioning but the real excitement was the show.
A little girl is ignored by her parents until chaos ensues when an Elephantom moves in...so far so standard in children's fiction. The Elephantom however is incredibly troublesome even to his new friend and the tipping point is when he invites his friends over for a party. Gran comes to the rescue however and after a trip to a magical shop the Elephantom is encouraged to move out and cause chaos elsewhere.
This play is almost wasted on children although my nephew sat spellbound throughout - giggling mightily when the elephant gets wind and poops on stage! It is a wordless play which is choreographed as carefully as any ballet and the ideas are quite complex. The Elephantom isn't on stage all of the time and this could cause a dip in attention but some how it doesn't.
I hope that at some point the National Theatre release a DVD of this, like they did for their Cat in a Hat, because I think it is a play that can be watched many times at all ages. I know I want to see it again.
Like in War Horse the staging allows you to see the puppet operators as they work the Elephantom but again they are forgotten to the extent that when the little girl tugs the trunk of the naughty elephant and he appears to come apart my nephew really did gasp as if it were real.
My favourite thing of this show is that instead of a programme the ushers are selling copies of the book that the play is based on. What could be better my two favourite things in one place!