Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
On Sunday afternoon (8 April 2018) I took my five year old daughter to The Lowry theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester to watch You’ve Got Dragons. This is a play based on the book by Kathryn Cave and performed by the Taking Flight Theatre Company.
You’ve Got Dragons tells the tale of Benjamina, a young girl who has got dragons. They are everywhere she goes, at home, at school, and at bedtime. We learn that everyone has dragons, those big horrible feelings that sometimes make life hard but we also discover that no dragon is as powerful as you! This was a creative way to explain feelings such as anxiety, fear and worry amongst others to a young audience.
As well as discussing such an important topic the performance was also accessible for audience members with visual and hearing impairments. In the foyer before the play there was an interactive, tactile display depicting the set and costumes worn by the actors as well as headphones with recordings of the actors talking about the show.
Upon entering the theatre there was an area on the floor for the children to sit with chairs behind for the grown ups. On the floor were the cast members, Axelina Heagney who plays Benjamina and the two dragons, Steph Back and William Grint. Whilst we were waiting for the performance to begin, the cast members were interacting with the children and teaching them the sign for Dragon, with music being played in the background by Rowan Talbot. Before the show began Axelina came to talk to the children who were still sitting on the chairs including my daughter who didn’t want to sit on the floor, due in the main part to her own dragons! Throughout the play there was a mixture of British Sign Language, on screen text and audio description that made the whole production feel seamlessly inclusive.
This was a lovely production which has prompted a number of conversations between my daughter and I around feelings and emotions as well as disabilities and differences between us. As a parent I unexpectedly became quite emotional watching this play as it made me empathise with my daughters feelings and how scary those dragons can seem to young children. This is a wonderful, inclusive show that all children should see, as well as their parents.
You’ve Got Dragons is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.takingflighttheatre.co.uk.
For other shows The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000