John Hegley: All Hail the Snail (and other creatures)

Reviewed by Flossie Waite
Half Moon Presents
Reviewed at Watermans Arts Centre

Touring nationally until May 31st 2018
For ages 7+

In his show, John Hegley told us what a poem is not,
And unless there is something that he quite forgot
to include in his list (though it seemed comprehensive:
an A to Z rundown, it was really extensive!
{In truth, it was so good you should follow this link
and read it for yourself to see what you think})
Anyway! if his list was complete then I’m right to construe
that a poem can be a theatre review.

Photo: Genevieve Reed-Allen

So with metre and feet, I shall try to condense
what this show’s all about in a way that makes sense:

Picture Stewart Lee meets John Lennon, with a post-punk rocker air,
Performing poems casually from his bright red wheely chair,
accompanied by two musicians: Eleanor Moreton on the fiddle,
and Clare Elstow, the pianist, sitting with them in the middle.

Over 60 minutes, the trio achieve the impossible,
making every age group laugh, and un-crossing the uncrossable.
There’s stand-up, music, spoken word, dancing, and tales
(as you probably guessed from the title, there’s one about snails)
There’s even an educational bit, and if that’s not enough,
it’s all interactive, and you know kids love that stuff.

In case this whimsical format makes me sound insincere,
or my crude attempts at rhyme make the meaning unclear:
Hegley’s bizarre, brilliant show is one of the best I’ve seen, and that’s why this
is all written in verse: he inspired me to try this.
(In fact, I said to my companion as we walked out the door,
“I would watch it again, but I’ve an appointment at 4”)

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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