Since lockdown, many parents have asked me whether I’d recommend online theatre to stream for their children. Until now, I have hesitated in recommending any. Not because there aren’t many beautiful theatre shows available to stream – there are (see my colleagues’ reviews). But because ultimately, streaming pre-recorded theatre is yet another passive, screen experience for children whose lives are now completely dominated by screens. Up, Up, Up & Away is a different kind of theatre experience that I can thoroughly recommend for children in the suggested age range of 3-8 years old.
Up, Up, Up & Away tells the story of Captain Calamity, played by Rowland Stirling, who pilots his big, blue hot air balloon on adventures around the world. Captain Calamity takes on an Apprentice, played by Ryan Duncan. The Apprentice is hoping to earn his Cloud Cadet badge, essentially, his flying licence. Audience members become Cloud Cadets too – joining the Apprentice on various adventures and using their skills to get out of scrapes.
This show is delivered via Zoom call, in a use that must surely have been way beyond the original Zoom coders intentions. Each actor performs their role, live, in their own homes, and the performances are spliced together in real time and interspersed with some lovely home made animation and exuberant music to give a live, joyous performance.
There is something about the home made nature of the whole show, especially the costumes and props, that recaptures the spontaneity and joie de vivre of great live theatre – something I think has been a little lost in the increasing sophistication of pre-lockdown theatre.
Using a meeting platform means that the show is genuinely interactive – audience members have an input into the way the story unfolds and it was a joy to see little ones in all parts of Oxford having fun and participating in this most cheerful of adventures.
The company has wisely limited the number of tickets sold for each performance so that each show feels intimate and personal.
Super Stories with City Actors is to be commended for their proactive, can-do approach to lockdown and once again, Creation Theatre has come to Oxford’s rescue – presenting us with something new, different, and full of fun.
Anything that delivers joy into our homes right now deserves 5 stars.
One ticket allows one device to join the show. This means that every member of your household can participate in this show and makes it very good value if you have lots of children. Do you long for a tiny bit of a break from childcare? Then this show will give it to you for 1 hr; which is just the right length for this adventure.
You should be aware that at times, audience members will be shown on the screen either in full screen or gallery view. This means that anybody watching the show or parents supervising in the background may be visible to all (so wear clothes). If you don’t want to tidy up your house, then make sure your camera is pointed at a background you are happy with. If you are participating, wear clothes on your bottom half (and on your top half too, obviously). The interactivity of this show means getting up, giggling and wiggling around – your bottom half will be seen.
- Live Streamed Drama
- Written by George Rennie
- Created by Super Stories with City Actors and brought to Oxford by Creation Theatre
- Music composed and performed by Jessica Dives
- Cast: Rowland Stirling and Ryan Duncan
- After reading the review, please see Up, Up, Up & Away website
- For Dates/Times see Creation Theatre's Website: https://www.creationtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/up-and-away/