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Charlie's search brings the wow factor into play


Lion Boy, The Dream Factory, Warwick until 22 April

Charlie's parents have gone missing. He has no idea why his parents would suddenly disappear but the fake note they leave rouses suspicions someone has taken them.

This is his cue to set off on a globe-crossing quest to rescue his parents and discover their true 'value.' He has help from a most unlikely source - the neighbourhood cats. A freak childhood incident has left Charlie with the ability to speak not only 'Cat' but also 'Lion' and both sets of felines become Charlie's guides and his friends.

Playbox Theatre's all youth cast work hard to bring what is a complex story to the stage. Working in the round brings a variety of challenges. The actors are mindful at all times that the audience is all around them, but their true skill lies in their ability to transform a series of silver bamboo canes into an ever-evolving set.

Polite applause turned into genuine appreciation when the characters on a circus boat stage their act. In the stand out scene of the play, a highly accomplished acrobat literally takes centre stage on a swing suspended from the ceiling and performs a series of turns that had the audience wowed.

The lead character 'Charlie' is played skilfully by girl, which I worried might confuse my children, but they grasped the fact that she was a boy really easily. My favourite character by far was 'Serge' a genetically modified cat that induces asthma in humans. The actor easily draws the audience in to the tale with his cheeky portrayal of the role

The show is billed as suitable for audiences of all ages and while my five-year-old followed the complex plot twists better than I had anticipated, my own eight-year-old Charlie was a much better age to fully comprehend and appreciate it. When asked what he enjoyed most about the show he answered simply, "all of it."

Winner!