Sleepyhead

Reviewed by Flossie Waite
A Little Angel Theatre production
Running until 4th February 2018
For ages 2-5

It’s bedtime, but Baby’s not tired: it’s poor Dad who needs some rest. Trying every trick up his sleeve to get Baby into bed includes getting out an actual magic kit, but it’s no use – the flagging father only sends himself to sleep. With Dad unconscious, the cheeky infant takes his chance – and his wand – for a late night of unsupervised fun, levitating his snoring pa into a washing basket and firmly closing the lid. But Baby meets his match when a bunny pops out of the top hat; the rabbit is just as mischievous with a magic wand, and mayhem ensues.

Sleepyhead © Emma Lambe-0002-DSC_0845-Edit.jpg

Photo: Emma Lambe

There’s something delightful and amusing about a canny baby who, from the size of him, should barely be able to lift his own head, outsmarting his elder. Performers Phil Yarrow and Roddy Peters employ flawless comedic timing for each of the production’s puppets, giving them mannerisms that are both hilarious and right on the nose. The tiny baby with its big bobble bonce looks like butter-wouldn’t-melt, but the devilish giggle proves otherwise. The Dad looks stereotypically ‘Dad’-like – moustache, smart shirt, glasses he keeps shifting around – but is pretty hapless, speaking in a deep, muffly mumble that barely registers as communication, and moving with a constant clumsiness that rarely sees him enter or exit a room unscathed.

Written, directed and designed by Michael Fowkes, Sleepyhead blends the banal with the bizarre: Baby’s nappy change ends with bunny being quite literally blown away; bathtime seems to be going well until the tub goes for a spin; and a midnight feast sees a furry mammal causing chaos to bake a cake. If you’re looking for a show to catch this Christmas, Sleepyhead is the funniest 45 minutes for the under-5s.

Children’s Theatre Reviews exists to help plug the gap in criticism and writing about theatre for young audiences. It is run entirely voluntarily, and needs support to continue covering and supporting the sector. For more information and to help give children’s theatre the voice it deserves, please visit our Patreon page.

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