Colin the Country Cockatoo is on a mission to reunite all the notes of the stave and save his friends from the dastardly plans of Calando the duck who wants to bring eternal silence to Treble Clef Island. No surprise here that this is a musical about music but there’s an important lesson about friendship and being able to say you’re sorry thrown in for good measure.
I’m going to be singing the AnimAlphabet song for the rest of the Fringe.
Opening with Kerry Ingram’s delightful MetroGnome, we’re introduced to the animals who represent each note on the musical stave and we learn a bit about each of their preferred genre through extremely catchy songs by Al Sharland and Sam Swallow of pop rock band, The Hoosiers. We get mournful country, rap, reggae and even a silly introduction to the pretentiousness of jazz via a Geordie Giraffe.
With the exception of Brad Clapson who is wonderful as our hero, Cockatoo, the entire cast play dual (and sometimes triple) roles. Each actor gets their moment to shine; Rebecca Ayres is adorable as Elephant and diva-like as Crocodile, Ishia Osborne’s brilliant Donkey rap and reggae Frog are highlights and Jake Addley really works those costume changes as Bear, the fantastic Geordie Giraffe and as the wonderfully sinister villain Calando. Ingram fills in with the various puppetry roles and regular set changes before returning to the role of MetroGnome for the inevitable happy ending.
AnimAlphabet the Musical is a well-paced show for children. Aimed at the younger kids, it’s got plenty of audience participation for the slightly older siblings and lots of opportunities to boo the villain, cheer for the heroes and sing along with the cast. There’s even some lovely gags for the adults that acknowledge that we grown-ups love music too.
The real take away from the show is that the songs are so catchy that I’m going to be singing the AnimAlphabet song for the rest of the Fringe.