Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
You literally couldn’t move for excited children as me and my son arrived for the 4.30pm performance of Zog at The Capitol, Horsham. Although there isn’t any daytime parking actually at the theatre there are plenty of reasonably priced car parks within a 5 minute walk and we soon joined the queue to enter the building as families merged from all over Horsham to see the show.
Zog is a classic storybook written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler brought to life on stage with puppets and music delighting both adults and children alike. The production tells the story of Zog, the orange dragon who is never quite good enough at dragon school, all he wants is to get a gold star from the teacher, Madam Dragon but it never happens. He tries flying and crashes, he tries roaring and hardly any noise comes out and he tries breathing fire and just a little flame comes from his mouth. But he is enthusiastic and tries super hard at everything he does. Still he doesn’t impress the teacher enough to get a gold star. Year 1, 2 and 3 come and go and Zog never loses enthusiasm but does sometimes get sad feeling like he isn’t good enough. A young girl sees him looking down and stops to help him, bandaging him when burns himself and putting plasters on his wounds when he crashes flying. The girl turns out to be Princess Pearl which turns out to be extremely handy when Zog’s next school test is capturing a Princess!
Princess Pearl feels sorry for Zog and lets him capture her and they become firm friends. At last Zog gets his gold star. But its not the end of the story, the hilarious Sir Gadabout arrives on stage on his imaginary horse to rescue the Princess. Does she want to be rescued, is there a happy ending? You will have to get tickets to find out.
This is a beautifully heart-warming adaptation of the book, filled with catchy songs and some audience participation to keep you involved. The set is sparse, just a few trees and basically a coloured scaffold tower but the different levels and the movement of the cast up and down make it seem like there is so much more to look at. The dragons are played by both people and puppets, the dragon puppets are just gorgeous. There is also a fantastic menagerie of wild animal puppets, a squirrel, a pair of bunnies and our favourite a long-legged frog. Just delightful.
There is a real moral to this story, keep trying and you will succeed, but it’s told with fun, music and laughter, we especially enjoyed the spelling song, practise. Although there were a large number of pre-schoolers in the sold out auditorium, I would say any child up to age 8 would enjoy this show., the story is simple but told well and the stage is full of colour.
The Capitol is a great theatre to see any show, we were in the circle, which initially deemed as scary by my son, ended up being a great hit with a brilliant view. Snacks and drinks are really well priced compared to other venues and should you have more time there is also a café and separate bar area.
We spent a great hour watching the show and like every other child in there we came out with great big smiles on our faces. Brilliantly uplifting and super fun I highly recommend Zog. Get your tickets soon as it is selling out everywhere.
Tickets cost £15.50 (booking fees may apply)
Zog is at The Capitol in Horsham from 6-8 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com or call the box office on 01403 750220.
The Capitol Horsham, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1RG | 01403 750220