What do smelly socks, sausages from the school canteen and rabbit poo have in common? They’re all ingredients that you need to make a monster. They’re also some of the ingredients you need to make a hit live show for young children: just add an enthusiastic cast, catchy songs and a handful of funny monster puppets.
In a break with (Julia Donaldson) tradition, this year’s flagship children’s show at the Great Yorkshire Fringe is an adaptation of the book Monstersaurus. It’s a story about Monty, an enthusiastic schoolboy with inventing on his mind. When he discovers an ‘Inventions Very Rare’ book, he sets about creating himself a monstrous friend or two with the help of audience members (we contributed a jar of frog spawn that we’d been handed at the start of the show). The monsters spring to life with comic effect and are never menacing: these aren’t the sort of creatures that are likely to pop up in your children’s nightmares (but every child’s different so don’t hold us to that!). Monstersaurus himself bursts onto stage and into song over halfway through the show, and although we’d have loved more of him, he is definitely worth the wait.
Running at just under an hour, it’s the perfect length to hold the attention of young audience members and is energetic and lively enough to keep them entertained. It’s perfectly pitched at the pre-school crowd – this isn’t a show that attempts to appeal to adults too – and our three-year-old was giggling throughout. To my surprise, our six and eight-year-olds came out saying how much they enjoyed it too. A triple thumbs-up from our three little vikings.