An enchanting stage show based on the 2010 book by Julia Donaldson, Zog follows a young dragon of the same name who only wants one thing: a gold star. The story shows him and a unique princess finding their way in the world as their friendship develops.
Strong performances from each cast member.
From the start, the simple and flexible staging (including a climbing frame made from scaffolding) created a fluid transitional theatre set that could be a dragon school one moment and palace grounds the next. Added to this was a strong band of actors who created various colourful characters that kept young and adult minds open and connected to each scene that unfolded. This was the perfect mix of many genres: physical theatre, education, puppetry, musical theatre and comedy. The strong performances from each cast member added their own little bit of magic. Whether it was audience interaction or silly tongue twisters, the dedication shown in each performer was clear to see. The group comradery was a particular highlight and they were not afraid to stay present in case something had to change quickly.
Billy Mahoney as the titular Zog brought a lot of fun to the role, but also handled the more emotional scenes well. What made him particularly watchable was the strong friendship he developed with the feisty and kind hearted Princess Pearl (Lois Glenister). Not only was this relationship on stage a sweet one, but both actors demonstrated a well rounded and grounded interpretation of characters that stood out from the crowd on their own terms. Glenister was not afraid to reveal several sides to Pearl as she progressed from being trapped by her sense of duty to being able to be authentically herself.
Asher Cornelia Cluer played the nice, but firm Madam Dragon and kept everyone in check as new things were learned under her watchful eye. She in particular portrayed a good skill in family friendly audience interaction and comedy to keep everyone on their toes. As did Benedict Hastings who played the not so confident knight Gadabout, especially with his physical comedy skills that was reminiscent of Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks sketch. Whilst that reference may go over younger heads, those who are familiar with Monty Python will recognise a lot of John Cleese in Gadabout.
One of the ensemble and main narrators deserves a special mention here – Tara Harris. She not only played many characters, but demonstrated a natural and engaging tone as she helped tell the story of Zog along with the other cast members.
Expect a lot of fun, empowerment and positivity when watching Zog - the whole production is a joy.