Aliens have crash-landed on Earth, and rely on their young audience to help them put their scattered stage back together. They communicate only in nonsense words and eccentric gestures, often breaking off from their task to interact with materials attached to the venue. The cast look completely spontaneous and inspired by their surroundings. The piece feels like real play-time, where anything can happen according to the whims of the players. The audience is repeatedly caught off-guard, but is delighted by the confusion.
Hip hop-inspired dance company Cultured Mongrel are paying Newlands Centre a visit in their tour of Experts in Short Trousers. The team have departed from their usual social commentary for adults to produce an interactive show for families and young children. The results are completely bonkers, but showcase expert devising from a very clever creative team.
Interactive theatre is a risk, especially one that relies so heavily on audience participation. Choreographer Emma Jayne Park’s skill really shines through when we see kids and grown-ups alike throw themselves into this production, returning the alien-version of the high-five and responding eagerly to babbled instructions. By the end of the piece we can almost understand what is being said to us, and we join in readily with the silly dance routines.
The kids love the performance and are put in the centre of the action. The show’s premise is that the cast appeals to knowledge that children already have (presumably how a typical play ought to look). This differs from other shows that aim to teach the children something. The kids are treated like the experts and encouraged to use their creativity to join in. At one point the adults are gently ushered off the stage so the children can play instruments, pride of place next to the actors.
Experts in Short Trousers is a delightfully bemusing show delivered by warm and funny characters.