Review: The Dragon and the Whales ****

Children’s Shows

The Dragon and the Whales

Assembly Roxy, v139

12.00 (ends 27 August, not Mon 13, 20)

**** (4 stars)

Charming and effective – it kept an audience of previously wailing and fidgeting small children quiet and absorbed for 45 minutes – no mean feat!

A dragon lives all alone on an island in the middle of the sea. One day she flies too far and fears she will drown, but is rescued by a friendly whale who carries her back to her island. After this, she knows who it is who sings every evening as the sun sets – it’s her friends the whales. A dragon only lays one egg in her lifetime, and we are fortunate to be present at its ‘birth’ – but this gloriously glittery golden egg is targeted by pirates, and the dragon has to fly away with it. It falls into the sea, where its hatching is watched by the whales who adopt the baby dragon into their pod. Aware that she is different [for one thing, she can’t sing in tune!] it is nonetheless a long time before a chain of circumstances reveal her true identity and she can live the life she was born to – while never forgetting her friends the whales.

There was much humour in the show as well as plenty of imagination. A clever mix of words and action, puppetry and shadow-play, with a few songs thrown in for good measure and a gentle soundtrack of music, sea sounds, and whale song, kept things moving along. I was impressed by the inventive use of props, especially the means of presenting a fantastic range of under-sea creatures [I particularly loved the squid] and the songs were informative as well as fun – did you know the blue whale has a heart the size of a car?

Modest Predicament are a Glasgow-based theatre company: I have tried, but failed, to find the names of the two actors who presented this imaginative show: a pity, as their names deserve to be known! Alas, I must celebrate the energy and enthusiasm of Anonymous Boy and Anonymous Girl – who were very good at engaging their young audience, and very lively and engaging in themselves, whether being concerned midwives to the mother dragon, or pirates with questionable personal hygiene intent on stealing the dragon’s egg. I think my only reservation is that one of the songs regarded a dragon as “something much more splendid” than a blue whale, which rather jarred in an otherwise excellent production.

The show was a sell-out today, and judging by the audience reaction it was appreciated by people of all ages – so hurry and get your ticket!

Mary Woodward