Marty MacDonald’s Farm ~ Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

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If you can capture the imagination of a twenty-one month old, inexperienced theatre-goer, you’re onto a winning formula! Featuring the voice of Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble) as Pongo the pig, who is joined by Molly-Moo the cow and Sheena the sheep, the race is on to save Marty’s farm from ruin (and the beak of a cheeky crow called Crafty!).

With the use of Makaton signing together with nursery rhyme classics, this show had my little boy clapping along and engaging in the whole story. ‘Wheels on the Bus’, ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and ‘Young MacDonald Had a Farm’ (well, it seems that farm-owner, Marty isn’t that old!) the audience of delighted young patrons danced in the aisles and sang along to the old favourites.

The puppets used to portray Pongo, Crafty, Sheena and Molly-Moo were perfect for the age group they were pitched to and quickly gained an enthusiastic fan-base who bought into the characters. The set was also simple and effective which drew attention to the characters even more. It worked well and it’s evident that the team who have created this excellent piece of childrens’ theatre. Credit must go to Martin Parsons (writer), Kate Ashmead (producer) and Iain Lauchlan (director).

A special mention must go to Marty’s new friend who is created by the use of a clever machine in act two. I’ll keep her identity a surprise, but she does a fine job of making sure that Crafty the crow is kept at bay and ensure that he becomes a little more friendly!

Check out the website for more details and also look out for Pongo’s Party next year, we’ll be there! http://www.martymacdonaldsfarm.co.uk/index.html

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