Shark in the Park

Aug 6 2022 | By More

★★★★★   Enthusiastic retelling

Assembly George Square (Venue 8): Thurs 4 – Sun 21 August 2022
Review by Torya Hughes

This enthusiastic adaptation by Simon Beattie of Nick Sharratt’s Shark in the Park books for local company Nonsense Room Productions, calls in at Assembly George Square as part of a UK tour.

The show combines three books, Shark in the Park, Shark in the Dark and Shark on a Windy Day, to create a family musical – ostensibly for two to seven year olds, but with plenty of laughs in there for the grown-ups in the audience as well.

Shark in the Park. Pic: Nonsenseroom Productions

The story introduces Timothy Pope, an energetic small child played by Chloe Edwards, on the night before his birthday when he is too excited to sleep. He’s sure he’s getting a telescope as a present from his dad, the long suffering Paul Beeson, and he can’t wait to take it to the park and look for sharks.

In scenes familiar to most parents, and raising knowing chuckles from the audience, Timothy finds increasingly inventive ways to avoid going to bed. In one particularly amusing scene, he takes on the role of parent and tucks his dad in for a nap.

There is plenty of slapstick comedy and pantomime style “he’s behind you” interaction. Songs feature heavily in the show, with the title tune repeating just enough times to leave you singing it for the rest of the day.

Sharratt’s rhyming text is simple but effective, enabling even the smallest children to get involved with chanting and singing along. Beeson also makes a cameo musical appearance as Elvis, with an exaggerated quiff, blue suede shoes and some groan-worthy puns.

utterly convincing

Edwards is an utterly convincing small child, with a wicked giggle and endless enthusiasm. Beeson portrays a wryly amused but weary father.

They are joined by Rachel Graham, who displays her versatility in multiple roles ranging from a seagull to an elderly man. She particularly shines as Rochelle, Timothy’s slightly irritating friend who has been “twenty hundred miles” on her scooter.

Peter Horsburgh’s set is designed to open like the pages of a storybook, and features Nick Sharratt’s distinctive bold illustration style. Clever cut outs and inserts replicate the suspicious shark fins from the story, each one turning out to be something much less worrying.

The direction by Bruce Strachan and Julie Ellen keeps the pace going from beginning to end, ensuring the young audience’s attention does not wander. This is perfect children’s theatre, and not to be missed.

Running time 1hr (no interval)
Assembly George Square (Gordon Aikman Theatre) EH8 9LH (Venue 8)
Thursday 4 – Sunday 21 August 2022
Daily (not Weds): 10am
Tickets and details: Book here

Facebook: @NonsenseroomProductions


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