A calming piece of theatre that will still prove engaging to younger minds.
The story is simple. Grandpa Frog and Grandma Frog leave the pond to plan a surprise for their little Grandfrogs. On the way, they get distracted by a multitude of silly ideas and problems which provide many opportunities for the children to get directly involved in the story. Natalie Green and Soniya Kapur are excellent with their audience interaction, genuinely listening to and reacting to their young audience’s comments no matter how surprising or amusing they may be. There is a relaxed looseness to the performance as well which almost makes the whole experience feel a little bit like a play camp rather than a piece of theatre.
It is this looseness that also presents a few drawbacks for the piece. The show probably wouldn’t be to the tastes of older children who perhaps want a little bit more excitement or a more developed story – in fact, one older child was clearly more than a little bit discontent with proceedings. Similarly, though the duo are excellent at interacting with their audience, the fact that there’s only two of them leaves some of the children seeming a little bit side-lined, either because they’re not directly involved in the action or, for those more shy, because there’s nothing else for them to watch whilst the performer’s attentions are elsewhere. I do wonder if an extra performer, perhaps one always in control of the Grandfrogs (which are a little underused) could help with this.
This aside, Ribbet Ribbet Croak is definitely recommendable to younger audiences, approximately under the age of seven. The use of sign language to assist with communication is a very good idea and one that more shows for children should experiment with. Their primary audience were very excited by the opportunity to get up onstage and help out, whether rustling paper or throwing leaves in the air.
All in all, this is a calming piece of theatre that will still prove engaging to younger minds.