Chalk About

Performers Christine Devaney and Hendrik Lebon polled a group of children on what they’d like to see in a show. They got lots of suggestions: “Blood!” “Dinosaurs!” “Zombies!” “No kissing!” “Beyoncé!” “Please, please, please…NO PUPPETS.” Bearing some of these suggestions in mind, they’ve created Chalk About, a lovely combination of honest, subtle children’s theatre and joyful contemporary dance. And yes, there’s chalk — lots of it.

Chalk About doesn’t shy away from the fact that the performers are adults, but there’s plenty of humour and whimsy here to keep children entertained, though the show is perhaps too subtle for very young children.

Devaney and Lebon don’t make the mistake of trying to appeal to children by playing children. They play themselves and don’t patronize their audience by assuming children can’t connect with adults. In one of the most delightful bits, Lebon asks the audience some questions (“Do I look like a good person? Do I look like I have a girlfriend?”) The children’s dead honest answers (“Yes…NO!”) had the adults in the audience in stitches. There isn’t strictly a plot, though we later realise it’s a love story told through dance, dialogue, and chalk. It’s also an exploration of identity and honesty. Children are unfailing honest and have strong sense of self, something we lose as we get older. Devaney and Lebon introduce themselves quite simply, (“I’m from Scotland. I love to dance. I like pizza”), but adult identity is a complicated tangle of such simple statements.

The entire stage is used as a giant chalkboard. At the beginning, children are encouraged to come onstage and help draw. Chalk About also makes imaginative use of fabric, balloons, and paper. The aesthetic is a far cry from the typical garishly colourful children’s show. Everything is black and white, but it never feels simplistic or dull. You can imagine the colours for yourself.

The dance sections are exuberant and engaging. Forget about children—people who don’t normally enjoy dance shows should see this one. Whether dancing together or apart, Lebon and Devaney convey emotions with childlike, unconscious joy. One of my favourite vignettes involved them meeting in a club. There’s a shouted conversation and then Lebon plummets into Devaney’s arms. How could you better express falling in love? Chalk About doesn’t shy away from the fact that the performers are adults, but there’s plenty of humour and whimsy here to keep children entertained, though the show is perhaps too subtle for very young children.

Chalk About is beautiful, heartfelt, and at times immensely funny. For parents and children who are sick of shows about singing toilets and talking animals, this is clever, artistic children’s theatre that really anyone would enjoy. No puppets—promise. 

Reviews by Lauren Moreau


Near Gone

Dance Base

An Invitation...

Greenside @ Nicolson Square

She Loves Me

Pommery Champagne Cafe Bar

Champagne Tutored Tasting


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A playful, funny and sometimes moving look at how we see ourselves and others, featuring dance, chat and one perfect scene containing everything you could wish for… Join Christine and Hendrik as they ask some big questions about identity and the meaning of life. What makes us who we are? Is it where we are from? Is it the way we dance? Our pasts or our futures? And, most importantly, doesn’t everyone like pizza? Originally created by Christine Devaney and Leandro Kees (Performing Group, DE). Commissioned by Imaginate. Part of the Made In Scotland Showcase 2014.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets