Mimi and the Mountain Dragon

Reviewed by Flossie Waite
A Skewbald Theatre production
Reviewed at The Village Hall, Battersea Power Station
Playing at Little Angel Theatre 2nd – 6th January 2019
For ages 4-8

Tiny, brightly coloured houses are nestled on snowcaps, their lights sweetly twinkling as the villagers of Dorta get ready for bed on Christmas Eve. It’s an idyllic existence, high up in the Swiss mountains with, as the mayor proudly explains, very little for locals to fear – except the terrifying mountain dragons who threaten to set off an avalanche and encase the whole village in snow. Mutti and Papi are the very best at singing the Dragon Scaring Drumming Song – banging pots and pans, blowing horns, stamping their feet – to keep these scary creatures at bay, but this year it’s just not enough. Daughter Mimi wakes up on Christmas morning hoping she’ll get the brother she wished for, but instead finds a scalier substitute asleep in the woodshed…

Based on the book written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Helen Stephens, Hayley Byfield and Tory Sandars’ Mimi and the Mountain Dragon is a story about being brave and not believing everything you hear. A menagerie of impressive puppets are at the show’s heart: from inspiring mountain goats to a cow stuck in the snow, Mimi meets all sorts of characters on her courageous adventure to get the very cute, kittenish baby dragon home to its mum. Caroline Wigmore and Jen Green’s original songs take the production from the silly – a very funny duet between Mimi and a baby dragon desperately in need of a throat lozenge – to the sublime – the gorgeous and atmospheric Bells Sweet Bells sung by the family on Christmas morning. Add the healthy dose of humour and plenty of yodelling from performers William Uden, Michal Horowicz and Jennifer Byrne, and Mimi and the Mountain Dragon is a Christmas treat as sweet as Mutti’s famous honeycake.

Like The Selfish Giant, The Grinch, A Christmas Carol and so many other festive favourites, Mimi and the Mountain Dragon celebrates the generosity, patience, and empathy that the Christmas spirit cajoles out of us all. But a mountain dragon isn’t only for Christmas – here’s hoping we can all take Skewbald Theatre’s message into 2019.

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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