The Wawel Dragon
The Scoop, City Hall
31st Aug – 25th Sept 2016, Wed – Sun at 6pm
Gods and Monsters present as part of
London’s FREE Open Air Theatre Season
Review by Richard Lambert 5 Stars *****
The Wawel Dragon is a new family musical based on Polish mythology.
It’s presented at the wonderful venue “The Scoop” which nestles in the crotch of the City Hall Boris’ Bollock building.
This fantastic venue has a skyline to die for, the Shard is in the background and the other buildings accomodate retail outlets so there’s plenty to eat and drink. Plus the concurrent London Bridge City Summer Festival provides food and drink concession stands in the area.
Wawel the Dragon is a Polish folklore. In characteristic style of children’s stories it’s a gruesome tale, in this case one of maidens being eaten as bully tactics to make the Queens marry the Dragon Prince. Throw in some song and dance and apparently we think such stories are suitable kiddy fodder.
Anyway, this very talented cast do justice to the piece and since it’s Polish based we get to see Polkas instead of Morris dancing. Hoorah! (Choreography by Francesca Bridge-Cicic)
The script and story is excellent! With references to “Cousin Elsa” who turns everything to ice, has to sing every 10 minutes and whose subjects are forced to listen there are plenty of references to make the adults chuckle! One maiden’s only asset to entice a fella was her “frozen sauerkraut” had the dad’s laughing! In true panto style it has the child’s story, song and dance to entertain all, and enough double entendres and clever script to entertain the adults. All performed in a slick stylish production.
The Set (Philip Eddolls) was great! Like Cinderella’s Castle it added many performace levels and areas. The venue itself adding multiple levels and spiral slopes. The show so very site-specific with so much going on at the same time that the hour-long show flew by!
As the sun set and the stage lighting started to make more of an impact there’s the wonderful moment when Phil Supple’s minimalistic outdoor lighting rig takes hold. Very discrete, very clever and really very well done!
The Sound was surprisingly good. With not many speakers and all the cast on head-mics with a large performance space and natural wind to contend with, I could hear all the Cast.
This production is a free event. It hopes to attract audiences who would not normally engage with theatre. The production deserves to be seen – not only by those who casually pass-by – but also by folk who deliberately go there to see the show. It’s worth seeing by everyone, not just those with children!
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