Looking for a charming spectacle this festive season? Well Knick Knack and Doo Dad’s ‘Reasons to be cheerful!’ might be the show for you. The interactive performance wasn’t your average winter pantomime but it had all the key elements for a great kids show.
Starring Patrick Lynch from Cbeebies as Doo Dad, and Carlo Rossi from Italian children’s TV show ‘Melavisione’ as Knick Knack, the show begins on an Island. But not just any island. A rubbish island! The performance kicked off to a slow start, with Knick Knack silently traipsing the stage, sorting through the rubbish. He was a miserable soul but the young audience members were already giggling away at his misfortune, as he stumbled and tripped his way across the stage, tossing stray rats here, there and everywhere. When the cheerful Doo Dad arrived on stage the production took off and it became clear that the playful entertainers knew exactly how to pitch a concept to kids.
Puppetry, pleasantry and more stage props than any show I have seen, the dynamic duo mastered the art of clowning brilliantly. Their knockabout antics had their intended audience hooting with laughter, jumping up and down in their seats and clapping along to music by Cialdo Capelli. From drinking Knick Knack’s projectile tears, to staging a family portrait with audience members, each individual scene was well constructed and achieved the perfect level of humour for children to thoroughly relish.
A particularly inventive sketch involved the audience using their imagination to create a fire to keep the pair warm in their scrap heap. The audience popped away at their bubble wrap – a guilty pleasure of many a child and adult alike – to spark the rocks in Doo Dad’s hands. The innovative use of a mirror-filled umbrella to reflect cleverly directed lighting had the children in awe and gave the effect of a fire flickering in the dark. On the other hand some youngsters preferred bouncing and batting the floating bags of rubbish, blown into the audience by ‘gale-force winds’.
Whilst ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ is advertised as appropriate for ages 3 to 101, it should be made clear that this is definitely a children’s show and the majority of enjoyment for adults came through the delight of their children, rather than the content of the show itself.
Whilst the individual sketches each had their merits, there was a slight lack of flow between scenes, making the show seem less like story of friendship and more a selection of well-composed gags. Nevertheless, where the show lacked fluidity it made up for it in fun.
It was evident that each and every child was left utterly mesmerised by the performance, some claiming that they would give it “50 Billion out of 5”! Knick Knack and Doo Dad certainly conveyed the message that the festive season is all about sharing with people we love and care about. ‘Reasons to be cheerful!’ really was a fabulous way to spend an hour with the kids in the lead up to a ‘smelly Christmas and a scrappy New Year’.
Knick Knack and Doo Dad plays at Birmingham's mac through December 2.