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Dragons and mythical beasts, Assembly Festival Garden, review

Dragons and Mythical Beasts, Assembly Festival Garden, Coventry until Sunday 3rd July.

By Ashley Hayward

This one hour long play aimed at young children certainly does exactly what it says on the tin as we get to meet two entirely different dragons and five other magnificently impressive monsters.

The production is fronted up by the highly likeable, bespectacled ‘Dave’, a reluctant hero who is claiming to need the good people of Coventry to become heroes and help him tame the fantastic beasts we are about to encounter.

Dave has no problems at all in getting help from several young members of the audience and shows considerable skills in the difficult art of audience participation.

The monsters are truly magnicent with my personal favourite being the awe inspiring unicorn closely followed by the tiny tooth fairy (who is actually placed in a ‘magnifier’ so we can get a better view of her!)

It would be worth the entrance fee just to look at these incredible creatures but they are brilliantly brought to life by some immensely talented and hardworking puppeteers.

The puppeteers skilfully move the creatures around but also manage to give each one a unique personality and depict a range of emotions not only visually but also provide appropriate vocal noises for each beast.

One of the joys of doing reviews is that you are given an excuse to go and see productions that are aimed at children. Not only did I find the whole performance to be entertaining and highly impressive but it also provided an opportunity to watch the reactions of the youngsters who seemed totally absorbed by the whole experience and definitely obeyed Dave’s instructions to ‘keep their hands in the air and their bums on the chair’ when volunteering to come to his assistance!

The size of the audience was a little disappointing for the afternoon performance I watched but I would certainly recommend any parents or grandparents with primary age children to take them along to this City of Culture event. They won’t be disappointed.


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