Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie
Freckle Productions and Rose Original Products present Zog, the orange dragon, an adaption from the much-loved Julia Donaldson’s book, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which won the Galaxy Children’s Book Award 2010. A bright colourful, roarsomely fun and with brand new songs from Joe Stilgoe. This 55-minute musical is the ideal length for holding a child’s attention for those aged 3-7 years, with audience interaction; but mummies, daddies and grandparents will also be entertained with the antics on stage.
Zog (Billy Mahoney) is large in size and the keenest dragon in school, he is determined to win a gold star from his teacher Madame Dragon (Asha Cornellia Cluer). But through his lessons learning to be the best dragon by flying, roaring, breathing fire, rescuing a princess and duelling the knight. When Zog practices his lessons, he is clumsy and bumps, burns and roars his way into the care of nurse Pearl (Lois Glenister) when she finds him in a heap, more than once, and patches him up.
Zog never seems get a gold star, no matter how hard he tried; but when it comes to capturing a princess, he thinks he has failed again, but nurse Pearl tells him that she is really a princess and that he can capture her. She is eager to be more than just a princess in frilly dresses, parties and sitting in the castle, so tells Zog that she wants to help people. Zog presents Princess Pearl to Madam Dragon, and he is awarded with his gold star.
Zog’s final lesson is to duel a knight, Sir Gadabout the Great. As they fight with each other, with his classmates, Madam Dragon and Princess Pearl look on. But Princess Pearl decides that it is wrong and steps between them, telling them that they should be doing good and not fighting. Sir Gadabout and Princess Pearl get together and with Zog go around the world together helping and healing.
The bright costumes, the cutest rabbit, squirrels and frog puppets become animated and hold your attention that they are part of the show. I really enjoyed that the crows, cawing and flapping came down into the audience and landed on some heads, brought laughs and ohs and ahs from the children. The clever use of puppets to represent the dragons flying, was done in a way that made it believable. Another scene when Sir Gadabout arrived on his clippity cloppity invisible horse, but through imagination and acting it became alive, even one of the audiences had to look after it.
Throughout the story and the use of songs there was a message for each and every one there. Teaching in a fun, colourful and memorable way, the importance of believing in yourself (especially when you don’t succeed the first or second time), doing what is right for you, even when it is not what others think you should do and one of the biggest messages for me was to cherish your friendships. These are constantly taught throughout the show.
The King’s Theatre was running a bit late to start, with long queues and some children getting impatient, I really thought they maybe a bit grumpy during the show. But as soon as the lights dimmed, a hush fell over them all as they sat in mesmerised wonder. The King’s Theatre staff worked with parents offering booster seats so the little ones could see the action, the staff were very accommodating and kept everyone informed during the slight delay. I am always impressed when attending this theatre as everyone is welcoming and can’t do enough for you.
I would recommend Zog to parents for a fun, interactive and learning experience away from screens to capture the magic of live shows at the theatre. I just wish that merchandise was a little cheaper for it to be in the price range of everyone.
Tickets cost from £15 to £17 (booking fees may apply).
Zog Live is at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh from 12-15 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.capitaltheatres.com or call the box office on 0131 529 6000.
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ | 0131 529 6000