We're Going On A Bear Hunt, The Goose Nest (Warwick Arts Centre) until Jan 7.
The hunt begins by introducing us to the four main players, a father, son and daughter and a dog called buddy together with a large doll portrayed as a small baby.
It is all very jolly but at this point the audience has no idea of quite what an adventure they are about to have!
This is the story of a family quest to find a bear. On their journey they will face a series of different challenges. They must walk through tall swishing grass, a river, thick gloopy mud, and a snow storm before they enter a dark and mysterious cave where they eventually find the bear.
As the family face each of these challenges we hear the repeated phrase “we can’t go over it we can’t go under it we must go through it”.
This use of a repetitive a phrase helps ensure that the young audience understand that yet another exciting event is about to take place.(it is aimed at ages 3+, Early Years and Key Stage 1)
It gets more and more exciting ,the children squealed with delight as they were sprayed with water from the river and were delighted when snow came pouring from the ceiling.
So why does this work so well? The cast are excellent playing numerous different instruments, singing and dancing and generally making it all fun. The song “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we’re not scared” was sung in a variety of ways throughout.
The children moved and swayed, bobbed up and down to the music and towards the end of the performance were encouraged to join in with the singing themselves. It is not an easy task to maintain the interest of a young audience but this performance managed to achieve this with the help of a wonderful script.
This is certainly one of the most engaging performances for young children that I have experienced. Lara, aged 4, tried to crouch down whilst laughing as the water was sprayed. She even commented: “They did clever mud painting. It was so funny and scary!” .
It is indeed a “hands on adventure”.