Read all about it! Read all about it! Dragon spotted in Bettys, York! At least that’s what the three year-old thought she saw lurking among the cakes when we popped in for some Christmas gifts on the way home from seeing The Book of Dragons at York Theatre Royal this week. Recently qualified expert dragon-hunters, we now know that dragons can be as small as a macaroon and just as sweet. We also know that they can be found just about anywhere.
Our dragon-hunting journey began in the snowy landscape of the Theatre Royal’s studio, a cosy space that gives the two characters, Effie and Harry – played by the impressive and perfectly cast Elizabeth Mary Williams and Emilio Iannucci – the chance to shine. Effie and Harry are a brother-and-sister duo who enjoy the age-old pastimes of many a sibling: bickering and winding each other up. They also, however, share an interest in something slightly more dangerous: dragons.
In The Book of Dragons, Effie and Harry introduce us to all manner of dragons, from the friendly to the fiery and many in between. Each adventurous tale – based on Edith Nesbit’s classic book of short stories – is vividly told and brought to life through a sparkling script, full of excitement and humour, puppetry and physical theatre. The stories are beautifully told, and although our little one was too young to appreciate all the plot twists, rich language and subtleties, it held her full attention throughout (just over an hour, with no interval). In fact she bought into it so much that there were a few points when she jumped onto my lap for comfort – we are talking about dragons, after all – and, when she feared that a baby was about to meet a dragony end, buried herself in my coat. Moments of peril are fairly short-lived, thankfully, and a happy ending guaranteed. I’ve no doubt our other two (5 and 7) would have really enjoyed it too, and I expect it would have inspired our eldest to write his own dragon stories. It’s a witty and engaging interpretation of a timeless classic, perfect for a modern audience of dragon hunters-in-waiting.
At the end of the show, we were charged with hunting out the dragons hidden in the theatre foyer – a mission that the 3 year old took very seriously. She refused to let us leave until we spotted all six, and now she’s seeing dragons everywhere. You never know, you might find one serving your afternoon tea!