When you write a review of anything you view it through adults eyes. But when it is a review of something for children, it is best to ask them what they thought if it. This is what I did with ‘The Dragons of Azrael’
The show was staged in Armagh’s planetarium and I had 5 kids, from 3 to 9 sitting in the front row. They sat squirming in their seats looking at the darkened set, too frightened to speak. Healthy fear is good.
“Are the dragons going to be real?”
“And what else would they be?”
The stage was set: a large cave, a strange white orb and a projection of a volcanic world light years from Earth.
Then the music starts and the description of the tale begins, whilst this is slightly overlong, it does set the tone of what is to come. The lighting effects and lasers then crank it up a notch. The watery/ scale-like projections onto the Orb look fantastic and you wait with trepidation with all the other kids.
Out steps a Jedi-like soothsayer who explains why we are all there and helps transport us across the universe to a planet devoid of imagination. Through the children, they transfer their innocent thoughts of dance, art and storytelling into a newly hatched dragon who helps renew the planet.
The main dragon is impressive, the new-born dragon a treat, but it is Ariel, the soothsayer who carries the show.
I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in this world and so did the kids.
If this show is to go on to bigger and better things, and I know it will, I think some more interaction and audience participation is needed. The two cheeky dragons could be used more to involve the kids.
I have been to many children’s plays and this one is on a par with them.
One for the family for sure.
Review written by Garry McElherron. He is from Newry and the author of MourneQuest.