Oi Frog & Friends!
Format: Family Show
Cast: Robin Hemmings, Darren Seed, Lucy Tuck & Simon Yadoo
Review Date: February 26 2020
Performances: February 26-29 2020; 10.30am, 1.30pm, 2pm & 4pm
Location: Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 55 Minutes
Age Rating: 3+
Oi Frog & Friends! brings to life the much-loved children’s books, and the stage show has now come to Liverpool’s Playhouse Theatre.
Before the show begins, we see the four cast members who play a multitude of personas throughout – Robin Hemmings, Darren Seed, Lucy Tuck and Simon Yadoo – donning teacher mortar boards as they walk around the auditorium. After writing the name of the show on a digital blackboard screen, the foursome introduced themselves to the parents and children in attendance, and asked for them to write down a word that rhymes with their name to sit upon (so, for instance, Paul might sit on a ball), with each slip being collected to be read out later on. In the meantime, though, the blackboard would offer up some surprising images to get the kids trying to catch the attention of the teachers. All of this made for a nice prelude to the main course, that being the show itself.
We were introduced to The Sittingbottom School For Animals, and Cat (Lucy) is not only in charge, but has one particularly major rule to follow: every animal must sit on something that rhymes with their type. This meant that a lion would sit on an iron, and a dove would sit on a glove. When Frog (Robin) arrived, though, he is already struggling to fit in, and he struggles with this rule, especially since he has to sit on a log, which gives him splinters in his bum, much to the amusement of the on-looking crowd. He befriends Dog (Darren), who advises him about how to try and handle the situation, but it only leads to Cat deciding that Dog must sit on Frog! Cue a squish, some unhealthy methane gas in the air, and more laughs.
It is in this moment, however, that Frog “gets it”, and with Simon’s variety of other animals acting as support (including a Meerkat who is hosting a local TV news programme reporting on this ongoing conflict), Frog begins to rhyme on a consistent basis, giving him the confidence to overthrow Cat’s power; for instance, he tells her that rather than sitting on a comfortable mat, she now has to sit on flying nats. Frog then goes through plenty of other rhymes, from where to sit to what to do to what to eat. As things develop, though, there is a fear that he is enjoying his rhyming game a little too much, and so the main plot becomes not about how to get Frog to rhyme, but how to stop him!
At just under an hour, the length of the main show is just right based on the target audience, and there is a lot of fun for the young ones to have. From being wowed by the colourful character puppets and costumes to giggling at the silly antics of Cat, Frog and Dog in particular, to joining in with rhyming games as a form of education, this is well worth their time, and for the parents who get to see the smiles on their children’s faces as they take in what is happening before them. This includes the use of certain props and increased audience interaction, one of which got a particularly big reaction and will likely be their main memory from their afternoon out at the Playhouse. As for the cast, they all worked very hard and held people’s attentions all the way through. I also liked the clever use of the settings and items to further establish the story, and the ongoing rhyming game actually had me thinking about which animals may or may not rhyme with certain words!
If you have kids who are just starting to learn to expand their vocabulary and who are just beginning their forays into school, Oi Frog & Friends! is a welcome treat that will have them entertained and educated. I would definitely say for any families to come along and experience this show for themselves during its current run at the Playhouse Theatre.
Target Audience: Children Aged 3+
Content: No Content Likely To Offend
Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect
Oi Frog & Friends! Tickets
Oi Frog & Friends! runs at the Playhouse Theatre until Saturday February 29 2020. To buy tickets, click here or call 0151 709 4776.
For more information about Oi Frog & Friends!, click here.