The Chit Chat Chalk Show at Z-arts Manchester Review

27 January 2018

Reviewed by Julie Lawrence

Finding theatre that is truly family friendly can sometimes be tricky, something that will entertain pre-schoolers all the way up to the grandparents – The Chit Chat Chalk show involves EVERYONE!

We watched this show with a 4 and 6-year-old, their parents and grandparents – we giggled, we watched, we listened and WE DREW!

The Chit Chat Chalk Show takes you on an adventure with Kiko and her new found friends to try and discover Kiko’s emotions. Every child (and parent!) has had that frustrating moment when you don’t know how to express how your feelings. Kiko is struggling to understand the strange new home she’s found herself in. In a collaboration between Hawk Dance Theatre and The Knotted Project, 5 fabulous dancers help each other discover and explore our emotions. Through colour, pictures, dance, music and magical lighting the dancers help you experience the voyage through love, jealousy, sadness, scared, anger and happiness.

The set is relatively simple but hugely adaptable – several huge black interlocking foam mats. These form places to hide, cubes to stand on, footpaths – and most importantly blackboards to draw on. Audiences get a prior warning that clothes may get a little chalky, but it’s also worth noting that this is a performance in the round with the audience sat on the floor, cushions, cubes or a few well-placed chairs. Again, each option of places to sit really works for the variety of ages of the audience – we ended up on the floor with children on laps or curled up around us.

The dancers really interact with the children (and grown-ups) and balance encouraging them to join in if they want or letting them watch from the sides. This was delightful, with two very different socially-interactive children, one was ready in a heartbeat to jump up and join in, while the other felt comfortable to just stay on a lap and enjoy watching others. Grandma and Grandpa were keen to join in when given the chance to Chit-chat and chalk! Watching the children create their own chalk playground at the end of the show was a real highlight.

On the whole I’d recommend it to anyone with 3-8 year old children – but would extend that to extended family too! We loved the chance to watch, whisper and write while the performers chit-chatted and chalked.

Rating: 5/5

The Chit Chat Chalk Show is currently touring the UK, for more information and tour dates vist chitchatchalkshow.com.

For other shows at Z-arts in Manchester visit www.z-arts.org or call the box office on 0161 232 6089.

Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5ZA |0161 232 6089

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