Three Wise Monkeys

Review written by Flossie Waite
Hiccup Theatre
Lyric Hammersmith
Touring South East/ London Autumn 2014 and Nationally Spring 2015
Ages 3-7

Swinging through the trees and eating an endless supply of ‘nanas’, you might think that life as a primate is all monkey business, but Three Wise Monkeys reveals otherwise. See No, Hear No and Say No learn not to turn a blind eye (or ear or mouth), in this energy-packed production that strikes a balance between monkeying around and a weightier plotline.

The set, a big climbing frame, is one of the stars of the show. It is clambered over, swung off, scrambled across and generally scaled with ease, transforming from treetops to rooftops to bridges. The music is catchy, from hummable upbeat numbers to tense drums. The writing, from the Olivier Award-winning Mike Kenny, is predictably terrific, and has the audience instinctively participating almost instantly, and genuinely upset when things take a turn for the worse. But it is all ten times better than the sum of its parts because of the cast. The three wise monkeys, See No, Hear No and Say No, and Ivan, a storyteller and musician who also puppeteers Do No, give their all in performances that are so dynamic it would be tiring to watch if it wasn’t so infectious.

The monkeys, communicating through lively facial expressions, wild gesticulation and forceful sounds, seem almost to be aping young children. It hits even harder when their carefree, playful ways are curtailed in a play that touches on the threat to wild animals posed by humans.

At 55 minutes, it starts to feel slightly too long for the youngest in the suggested age bracket but that aside, it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys and will have any audience going bananas (we’re sorry, we had to!)

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