Ogg 'n' Ugg 'n' Dogg starts brilliantly, with Ogg and Ugg peering through the backdrop grasses, and simple choreography that made all the children laugh. The two performers emerge and introduce themselves in a caveman style then start talking in a normal way, pointing out that they fooled everyone, but that they are not actually hunter gatherers. It starts with energy and enthusiasm and the children are engaged straight away, being encouraged to tell Ogg and Ugg their names in the same way that the characters shared theirs. It’s a lovely way to include all the children from the start and let them know that participation is encouraged.
After a very promising start it does slowly go downhill
The first (approximately) 20 minutes is absolutely great. Ogg and Ugg sing original songs throughout. The first song is about being hunter gatherers and they include the whole audience (adults too), climbing on chairs and creating a really fun atmosphere. They gather food from various parts of the room, including grapes, a dodgy looking mushroom. They also have a fight with a small snake, which turned out to be a balloon with a covering. When it popped, they got very scared and announced that it had shed its skin.
The wolves are puppets, moved about and voiced by the same performers. At the start this works well, but each time they become the wolves they don extra clothing on top of their outfits, clearly to encourage people to just see the puppets. However, after the first transition to the wolves, they could easily have dispensed with putting on the extra clothes as the audience got it, and it took too long.
There was a lovely section where a child from the audience is asked to help them look at the food they have gathered. This worked really well and all the children loved it, but it is only used once in the show. There could have been other opportunities for a child helper. There is also a lovely section where they perform a song and human beatbox as accompaniment, and a very clever setting of fire with the use of orange fairy lights.
However, after a very promising start it does slowly go downhill. The back of the sliding grass panels is meant to be fire at one point but isn’t in the same vein as the other props so it doesn’t work. The most off-putting thing about this is the amount of time the audience spends looking at nothing, because the performers do everything themselves; switching between the humans and wolves and the putting on of an extra costume piece of grass skirt, seems to take an inordinate amount of time. The children were definitely getting restless as the show progressed, and they were still trying to take part, but the performers ignored some of them. While those interjections may have been unwelcome, the performers could have managed it better. The ending, where the performers change into modern people, albeit with bizarre dress sense, is just confusing and doesn’t work. It’s a shame as the show is a lovely concept and it starts so well, but by the end the children were much quieter and the applause was polite rather than genuine. It’s as if they had one good script writer and director who either disappeared or just gave up. There was definitely not enough material here right now for a complete show, but with some work this could be one to watch.