De ja vu repost of Flathampton review as it returns to Derngate

THE innovative and interactive show Flathampton is returning to Royal & Derngate in Northampton from July 15-30. The show is for children of all ages and their families but there are a couple of shows for teens/adults only.

Weekday term-time performances are ideal for early years (under 6s) and their families and along with schools and nurseries (tickets £6 each), while weekend and school holiday performances are suitable for children of all ages with their families (tickets £7 each). To check times and prices or to book, call the Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk.There are also two special evening performances, with a grown up twist, on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 July for teenagers and adults only (tickets £10).

Review, Flathampton, Royal & Derngate to Saturday 17 July, 2010

ROYAL & Derngate should be applauded for its determination to provide innovative, engaging theatre for pre-schoolers. It’s always going to be unpredictable.

This time it’s a huge production, with a larger audience. Flathampton uses the entire Derngate auditorium, with the seats removed. The whole space has become a giant children’s playmat.

Like previous shows, Knit-Wits, Wish-Wash and Where’s the Bear, Flathampton is directed by Northampton’s own Dani Parr and doesn’t involve toddlers sitting wriggling on grown-up laps. Everyone’s part of the ‘show.’

You’re greeted by the bus conductor in the foyer and taken up and down stairs and through to Flathampton, where a story emerges. Everything in Flathampton is flat, until former resident Kate arrives and converts the horizontal set into a vertical, 3D one. It’s like watching dozens of under-sixes make a town from baby-flat-pack.

There are actors in character controlling an area of the town – the children can DJ at the music-store, dress-up at the make-over shop, visit the post-office, get money from the Flathampton Bank to spend at the grocer’s and treat their parents at the hospital.

It’s weird, it’s chaos, but the kids adored it.

Our two-year old and six-year old were baffled at first (too long queuing for the bus) but were soon running around trying everything and talking to the characters. After an hour and a half they had to be prised out of the theatre.

Try and get a ticket if you can, embrace your inner-child, and enjoy a visit to a show that’s anything but flat.

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