Snow Globe, Kid Carpet’s latest extravanganza for kids, takes place in a stage-sized snow globe rented from Gary Barlow. If you think that sounds a little odd, the show only gets more random from there, encompassing evil puffins, a talking fridge and Kylie’s biggest fans. Kid Carpet’s friendly, excitable persona is as warm and welcoming as ever, constantly interacting with the young audience throughout. He is backed up by Susie Donkin, who is brilliant in her many roles. The pair bounce well off each other, swapping banter and puns. Katie Sykes’ set and Jay Costello Roberts’ lighting create an atmosphere that perfectly balances the magical and the silly.
The strength in Kid Carpet’s shows often lies in the way they manage to keep ahead of the kids in the audience; by being more random, more hyperactive, more frantic, they manage to keep wandering minds engaged. Snow Globe feels like it sometimes fails on this front, that it is just a little too slow. The energy isn’t quite frenetic enough, meaning it is not quite the giddy adventure it could be.
Despite this Carpet and Donkin deal with the frequently disruptive young audience incredibly well – working distractions into the show rather than trying to shut them out, using the imaginations and enthusiasms of the audience instead of working against them. Even an outright mutiny, when the children chose to side against Kid Carpet and reveal his secrets, was incorporated seamlessly into the show.
One of the challenges of a family show is in creating material that simultaneously entertains both young and old. While there was, for the most part, enough to keep everyone happy, it did feel that the references were perhaps aimed at the parents too often – I feel like most kids are unlikely to know about Kylie’s time on Neighbours. These jokes still sometimes raise a laugh from the kids with their bizarre construction (after all, the sentence “I rented a snow globe from Gary Barlow” is still pretty funny, even if you’ve never heard of Take That), but the older references don’t help the occasional disengagement.
Where the show really reaches its anarchic heights is during the songs. They are rebellious and hilarious at the same time, and sweep the kids up in their upbeat rhythms, getting them bopping out the door come the conclusion.
Snow Globe is on until 7 January 2018 at the Colston Hall, Bristol. Click here for more details.