Director: Sue Buckmaster
Cast: Emily Windham, Teele Uustani, Elliot Liburd, Scott Brooks, Baker Mukasa, Sian Kidd, John Leader & John Pfumogena
Review Date: December 11 2019
Performances: December 10-28 2019
Location: Unity Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 50 Minutes incl. an interval
Age Rating: Children under 8 w/ families
Relatable and family-friendly, Beasty Baby at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre is a heart-warming performance from a skilful group of actors. The addition of a new-born baby within the family is something that the majority of people will experience in their lives, and Beasty Baby explores how people have to adapt around the baby in ways that are comical and understandable.
The opening scene of Beasty Baby features the family of three – a mum, dad, and sister – preparing for the arrival of a baby. They tidy up the house and bring in new furniture such as a cot and a high chair ready to welcome their new-born. Their excitement is conveyed with exclamations (“Imagine us with a baby!”), and they practice for when the baby arrives, but they didn’t anticipate the noisy crying!
When the baby is born, the family are overjoyed, all crowding around the mother to hold him. The storyline progresses to display the baby at different times of the day. For example, at breakfast, sister Emily prepares him something nice and warm, only for him to go and be sick all over his parents! When it is time for his bed, he begins to cry, and we see the efforts his family go to in order to keep him quiet and settled for sleep: “hush hush”, they say and sing. It only takes someone to accidentally trip over or drop something, and all their hard work is undone.
During the second half of the performance, months have passed and the baby is now a toddler, and with that comes the blessing of him being able to walk and talk. From this point on in the show, he constantly chatters away to his family, whether he is asking questions or telling them off. He even tells Elliot and Emily they are naughty and is satisfied when they put their faces behind bars, yet he thinks that dropping his plate at breakfast and wiping his spoon on his mother’s pretty cardigan is acceptable! “That’s my bed?” That’s what he asks when his family rearrange his bed into a cosy den because he refuses to sleep in a cot anymore. We witness him being treated like a prince with a crown on his head, and Elliot and Emily create a rhythm he can dance to, which gets the audience moving their feet too!
The final scene takes place outdoors as the family all put on their hats, scarves and coats to go outside and play in the snow. They even have a sleigh which they sit on with the baby to sing the final song on.
Notably, the three actors in the play are very skilful as they convey different events throughout the performance via actions and facial expressions rather than words. The actor playing the mother in particular is very good at multitasking as she moves and talks as the baby alongside acting her part. It is discreet and actually looks as though the baby is moving its head. It’s also very subtle when the transition of the baby to a toddler occurs; it was not noticeable at all, giving the performance a professional appearance.
The actors also engage in three short songs in the play, where their use of harmonies creates a simple yet effective tune which is also catchy, as many of the audience started to repeat the “hush hush” song when the baby was refusing to sleep. Furthermore, the way they move furniture around to create different settings is swift, and it blends in nicely. The actors’ movements are well-mirrored with the instrumental backing music, and this is also used to convey the “up and downs” in the performance. Here, we see different sounds being used to represent good and bad.
The special effects are also used very cleverly, and as there are no big set changes throughout the show, the way the furniture adapts is good to see. Significantly, the actors covering the furniture with white blankets to imitate the snow on the hills works really well, and it blends well for when the family go outside. The lighting is used nicely to showcase both day and night and also for weather, which sets the environment effectively.
In addition, the snow falling from the ceiling was very realistic and made the audience very excited to see snow inside, and the level of interaction with the audience was good, as we see the “baby” getting dropped onto a member of the crowd in the front row, and the show is easy for younger attendees to understand.
Everyone loves babies, so what isn’t to like about seeing Beasty Baby, especially if you are due to be a big brother or sister soon, or already are one? With the snow falling outside the window and onto the stage floor, it definitely gets everyone in the spirit of winter too, so come along and bring your family and don’t miss Beasty Baby this month!
Target Audience: Young Children
Content: 0/5 – No Content Likely To Offend
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
Beasty Baby runs at the Unity Theatre until Saturday December 28. To buy tickets, click here or call 0844 873 2888.