Don’t let the title of this show suggest to you giant worms or even aliens battling it out; here is war in its loosest sense. This fudged evolution tale is told by author (and many other things) Richard Digance, helped by his daughter Rosie. He sings the songs on an acoustic guitar, she reads the words. It is a cute combination, especially given their matching orange tops. The story begins in ‘The Slime Age’, when the only animals to roam the planet were the worms. It moves on through the various eras with more or less accuracy, all described in whimsical rhymes written by Digance for the Fringe.
Unfortunately, the combination of lulling songs and descriptive storytelling has quite a soporific effect and can make it hard to follow the non-plot for the entire length of this one hour show. This is increased by the stationary nature of the performance: once Richard and Rosie take their seats they don’t move, providing the audience with little visual entertainment. They attempted to combat this by introducing an interactive element into the tale, but this is restricted to saying ‘poo’ at certain points and getting slightly involved with the songs.
Our show was completely stolen by a young lad who got very into the instruction ‘dance like an ape’ but the rest of the children were less enthusiastic. More effort could have gone into getting them to join in, by talking through the words of the songs or showing them the actions before starting. It all seemed a rather laissez-faire approach to interaction and its lack of success was seen in the parents who sang louder than the children. This was perhaps also due to some of the older children considering themselves a bit above the show. While it is advertised as being suitable for six to 11 year olds, I imagine most ten year olds would look disdainfully on this CBeebies style set-up. Yet if it is to engage a younger age group with its evolutionary theme it must first engage them in all the other parts of the performance.