Review: Giraffes Can’t Dance. Curve Leicester. Studio.

Right now, it’s a jungle out there in the wintery cold villages, towns and big cities of the East Midlands and beyond. It’s wet and blowing a blummin’ gale. But in the comfy confines of Curve Leicester’s welcoming studio space, currently showing Giraffes Can’t Dance, superbly directed by Julia Thomas, it’s definitely another kind of jungle altogether. The Curve studio jungle is much more colourful, nicer, warmer and a welcoming place to be, rather than shivering out on the streets. In this jungle we are in the exuberant company of Gerald the Giraffe (Sophie Coward) and the happy scootering cricket (Phyllis Ho) and various Jungle Friends played with enormous fun and vigour by Gracia Rios, Jason Yeboa and Joshua Coley. In this theatrical jungle the mood is tango and waltz like there is no tomorrow!

Or is it? Because, you know, the central character Gerald the Giraffe is actually very lonely and he feels very out of place in the world of self expression and movement. He’s not like the other animals at all. What he needs is plenty of encouragement, loads of love and some interaction from the audience to help him find a place of acceptance and self-belief. The audience of excitable young ones and not so young ones (collectively called – the ants) today are thankfully on hand to lift Gerald’s spirits along with plenty of fun action from his wild jungle friends.

This super stage production of Giraffes Can’t Dance is based on the bestselling book by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. The fifty-five minute long show is like the storybook come vividly to life with extra bits and some very catchy songs by Tasha Taylor Johnson who has created the upbeat adaptation, music and lyrics.

The action on stage from the über talented and energetic Coley, Coward, Ho, Rios and Yeboa is second to none. Their acting enthusiasms sweep through the beguiled audience like a crazy flock of friendly parrots on acid. Even before the show has started everyone feels instantly involved and eager for Gerald’s story to unfold. Yes, even this reviewer gets into the spirit sat amongst all the little ones wearing their free giraffe face masks. Unbiased unity. Togetherness. Inclusiveness. That’s what this story all about!

Forget the magnificent seven, even if you don’t know who they are. This is a first class, five star, entertainment from a magnificent cast of five. There is plenty of colourful monkeying around in this totally committed children’s entertainment with the brilliant director Julia Thomas at the helm.

Simon Kenny’s colourful stage design combined with Jane Lalljee’s lighting design bursts with invention and colour. Mel Knott’s choreography just makes you ache to get up and dance too, even if, like Gerald, you think you have no talent for such things – until you find the right kind of music to get into your dancing bones. Make no bones about it – Curve Theatre, Rose Kingston and Simon Friend’s co-production is terrifically good whether you are a big fan of the book or have never had the chance to read it. Due to its popularity the show has now extended its run at Curve until Sunday 5th January 2020. Then it tours.

Photo credit: Pamela Raith.

Do you travel by public transport and come across annoying fellow travellers? Then check out Phil Lowe’s hilarious new book! below. Recommended age 16+

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