Patrick Monahan - Stories and Tales for Kids, Who Can Run Faster Than Snails

Patrick Monahan’s show is a great piece of interactive storytelling that has children standing on chairs waving their arms wildly to be picked to help Monahan tell the story of a young shepherd boy and his flock of magical sheep. This interactive element is a double-edged sword. Though the children clearly enjoy taking part in the story, holding rivers and making evil monster noises, Monahan has trouble communicating his instructions to the kids on stage and remaining engaged with the rest of the audience. At times it feels like a slightly frantic drama class, in which no one quite knows what to do - some of Monahan’s routines are strained for time, the kids are too shy to really join in, and the audience to the side of the stage can barely see anything.That said, Monahan is a skilled performer. When he does tell the story he has the audience listening attentively, and there are some excellent moments of ad-libbing that have the kids in stitches. He talks a little too much and too fast for the really little members of the crowd, and tells jokes clearly aimed for the adults that don’t quite reach their mark. He is quite fierce and though his physical comedy has much of the audience shrieking with laughter, this could be scary for really young kids. Monahan’s skill lies in creating a really good relationship with his audience, and giving children what they want (water pistols, kung-fu fighting). It is a real shame that during the performance that I saw, he ran out of time, despite frantic attempts to move the pace along. This is something that will hopefully be ironed out in the future, though the interactive element means there will always be uncertainty. The show is a fun and chaotic way to spend the afternoon, but will only be really rewarding for those who get involved.

Reviews by Louisa-Claire Dunnigan

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The Blurb

Hilarious and interactive stand-up and storytelling show for four years plus. 'Children in stitches ... slapstick and surrealism' **** (Fest); 'Big-hearted show' **** (List).

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