Sunday, 1 May 2011

Professor Paradox and the Pirates of Green Bogie

We got to Princes Hall as the doors opened, to take full advantage of the “Coffee and Crayons” before the show proper. She found herself one of the many pots of crayons and a pirate colouring in sheet and I grabbed a cup of tea, while other children, some dressed as pirates or fairies, piled into the venue with parents and grandparents in tow.

Princes Hall is part of Clevedon Community Centre, which adjoins Sunhill House. It’s a large area that is well-placed to hold theatre goers: it seats 300 people. It's a comfortable place for parents because the children can run around without danger or frowns from others - there's space enough for everyone.

I counted about 30 kids here today, many of whom sat on the padded mats to watch the star of the show, Professor Paradox, a clown/magician/Master of Silliness, who has a way of warming children (and adults) to him.

The first glimpse we got of the Professor was his bottom, always a good start when you’ve got a crowd of excited little people, who just love anything that is a tinsy bit naughty. He sneezed into a spotty hanky, he talked about poo and smelly socks and he was mildly slapstick, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of pantomime. He has an air of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonker about him, not just the unkempt hair that he is “very proud of,” but also that nonchalant attitude of “I told you so but you didn’t listen, did you? So be it.”

The Pirates of Green Bogie were coming to steal our sweets and we had to make a magic smell to keep the stinky, naughty crew at bay. The spells went wrong because Professor Paradox kept losing things even though the audience squealed and shouted that “There! There’s your hat! On your head!” His magic wasn’t working, mostly because we had failed to shout loudly enough. We remedied that.

Helpers were sought to come onto stage. The young assistants came willingly, the older ones had to be hand-picked, though they got into the spirit of the play immediately and one Dad was a great sport, dressed by our host as a big fairy.

This was a fun and easy-going event, organised by Event Architects of Clevedon, who hope to raise the profile of Princes Hall. For us, it worked: I’ll be checking out future events held there, of that I have no doubt.

Written by Becky Condron

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