Charlie and Lola's Extremely New Play, adapted and directed by Jonathan Lloyd of the Pegasus Theatre, delighted three generations of our family today.
The story and language are very faithful to the original books (it seemed to draw from about 6 of them), and the children will immediately recognise the voices of Charlie, Marv, Lola and Lotta. The characters themselves are depicted through 2D puppets. At first I wasn't sure how easy it would be to engage with the drawn puppets, but the puppeteers excelled in bringing them to life. The puppets retained the 'drawn' feel of the books, yet the moving eyes and limbs made them hilariously alive.
My children where wowed by the 'weather effects': 'real' snow, falling leaves and bubbles over the audience were a big hit. The performers made full use of the theatre space to create a sensory delight when conjuring the imaginary worlds of Charlie and Lola. My favourite part was when Lotta and Lola 'dive' into the fish pond: we were all invited to partake in subaqueous world.
Perhaps the real triumph was in the scene changes: No scurrying across the stage in black with the lights dimmed here: the stagehands/puppeteers delighted in transforming one world, scene or season to the next. Butterflies fluttered into leaves, icicles sprang into spring flowers, billowing sheets covered the stage in snow.
Dougal (age 3) "It is very funny!"