This is a show about poo. Occasionally it’s also about pee and toilet paper, but mostly poo. At one point, a woman dressed as a giant poo comes on and sings ‘Somewhere under the U-Bend’ to the Wizard of Oz tune. On paper then, this may not seem like the most intellectually challenging of shows, but Bite-Size pull off the trick of making a show that is not only lots of fun, but surprisingly educational.
The show never feels patronising or preachy and entertains as much as it educates.
The Big Bite-Size Plays Factory Goes Down the Toilet starts off with a ‘Secret Mission’ framework written by Sophia George. The children are initiated into a secret mission to uncover the facts about what you can and cannot flush down the toilet. We are then presented with three pieces by Lucy Kaufman to provide us with the answers. A historical piece introduces the concept of a toilet and an ancestor of Thomas Crapper, who unfortunately finds himself to be living a few centuries too early for his ideas. We are then introduced to Poosey (a poo) and her wonderful aforementioned song, before a wet-wipe is maliciously flushed down into the sewers killing an unsuspecting poo named Penelope! A trial is then held to determine the guilty party – was it the fault of the wet-wipe herself or the human who disposed of her?
Initially the children were a quiet bunch, bar one or two brave hecklers asking Agent Pee what her surname was (turns out that it’s actually ‘Pee’ and her parents just got lucky guessing her career with ‘Agent’). Not knocked off their stride at all by this early heckling, strong performances from the cast soon encouraged more engaged responses out of the children. There were moments in the Thomas Crapper section (and early in the ‘Poosey’ section) where I felt there was the potential for more direct interaction however.
Nevertheless, Annie Jackson and Becky Moult provided amazing vocals in the admittedly few but very well-placed songs. Miles Mlambo puts in an excellent performance when he is both the prosecutor and defence attorneys simultaneously, and William Knowelden does some expert multitasking when he manages both the tech-desk and a courtroom.
Supported by Scottish Water, the moral of the show is what you might expect it to be but it is delivered very well. The show never feels patronising or preachy and entertains as much as it educates. No doubt some of the children (and maybe a few of the adults as well) will be more wary of what they try to flush down the toilet.
An enjoyable 45 minutes with some surprising wit (“Can we please get to the heart of this faecal matter?”) and excellent songs in a well-paced and well-acted script, this show about poo rises above the levels of immaturity you might expect.