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Published 19 December 2014

What’s it all about?


Charlie is a boy who can talk to cats… including the big variety… hence the title. When his parents go missing, he looks to the neighbourhood moggies to help him find them. Together they discover that his mother and father have been kidnapped by a company more powerful than some entire countries. But what does this company – the Corporacy – want with his parents and how can he get them back?

How do they tell the story?

This is Complicite, the British theatre company renowned for its cutting edge approach to theatre, so it’s no surprise to see cameras and screens, strobe lighting and mobile sets, used throughout the course of the production. Never one to stop at just that, the company has also included shadow puppetry and circus skills, the latter of which you can get a taster of in the video above.

What did the kids like best?

Ever since Attraction grabbed the country’s attention by winning the 2013 series of Britain’s Got Talent, shadow theatre has proved a hit among audiences. This is no exception, and the brief moment in which a lion’s head is conjured by three performers is undoubtedly a highlight for both the children and adults in the audience. Another young attendee, however, found Charlie being told he was ugly by a fellow character far more roar-cously entertaining.

In a nutshell?

Complicite’s first ever family show delights audiences young and old with its imaginative take on Zizou Corder’s Lionboy trilogy.

Will my little one like it?

From the moment the production begins and the Tricycle Theatre’s auditorium is stunned – and a little scared – by the deafening sound of a drum, you know that your senses are in for a treat. Visually and audibly spectacular, Lionboy doesn’t let your mind wander even for a minute. Not only that, it’s also educational, with talk of tautologies, lessons in Latin and scientific citations about genetic modification that mean your little ones receive an extra dose of knowledge with all the fun that this brilliantly imaginative show brings.

Trip tip

Pick up a Lionboy programme to find out Corder’s favourite book character – we’ll give you a clue, he comes complete with witch and wardrobe – and hear what directors Clive Mendus and James Yeatman have to say about working on the show. You can then unfold it into a giant poster of sailing boats, hot air balloons and circus rings for the kids to colour in when they get home.

Lionboy is playing at the Tricycle Theatre until 10 January. You can book tickets through the venue’s website.


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