The Tales of Malik-Mammed at Chelsea Theatre
“The magician El leads audiences into a magical world of yesteryear when Shahs ruled, dragons roamed and where quick-witted Prince Malik-Mammed sets out to prove he’s a match for his overbearing big brothers.”
Serving as a fun introduction to Middle Eastern culture, director Andy McQuade presents a tale of princes, flying rams and selfie-obsessed damsels. This comedy adventure is part of the second Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts, and is sure to be a firm favourite for families looking for something a little bit different to entertain the kids.
The small space is set delightfully with dusty old books, elaborately woven carpets and shiny Eastern treasures. The studio of the Chelsea Theatre is a great choice of venue for this piece, keeping an energetic young audience involved and engaged due to the intimate setting. Elaborate headpieces worn by the apple tree and the phoenix are creations worthy of Alexander McQueen, working beautifully with the actors’ understated costumes.
Exceptional physical comedy performances will have even the most discerning of children rolling in the aisles. Numerous costume changes, in which the cast appear from behind the curtain in increasingly disheveled states of dress, are a repeated joke that just seems to increase in hilarity. Grown adults squeezing into baskets and tumbling about onstage provide the sort of laugh-out-loud moments reminiscent of Patricia Routledge circa Keeping Up Appearances. The expectedly earnest hero, played by Sam Watson, is beset perfectly between the buffoonery of George Collie and Eloise Black, who play not only his brothers but also a Shah, a tailor and a phoenix, to name but a few.
This really is a family-friendly production, far more enjoyable for parents than an arduous afternoon in a ceramics café. The ad-libbed out-of-character moments are genuinely very funny, showcasing the talents of this light-hearted, very silly cast. The actors are fearless in making fools of themselves: a quality always appreciated by a young audience.
The Tales of Malik-Mammed is on at Chelsea Theatre from 6th March 2015 until 11th March 2015, for further information or to book visit here.