- February 20, 2020
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are back in Brighton. Well, kind of, as one of their most beloved creations, Zog, was at the Dome. The story is simple, Zog is in Madame Dragon’s class and is desperate to win a golden star. Each school year the dragons are taught all the things that young dragons need to know, flying, roaring, breathing fire, capturing princesses and fighting knights.
After seeing Stickman at Christmas expectations were high. Sitckman was a masterclass in set design minimalism which stuck closely to the plot of the book whilst delivering catchy songs and a big happy ending. While we waited in our seats, it looked like we were in for the same. The set consisted of a three levelled structure built out of scaffolding painted green with three illuminated golden stars hanging above it. From here the five cast members acted out Madame Dragon’s lessons. As with Stickman there non lead actors, played an assortment of dragons, teachers, nannies, animals and Sir Gadabout the Knight. Unlike Stickman the puppetry was more advanced with birds and dragons flying in the air and inquisitive squirrels, rabbits and frogs inhabiting the floor. Again, as with Stickman, the highlights of the show were the big song and dance numbers. ‘Be Someone Special’ was captivating and told the audience that you can be whatever you want despite what gender roles may dictate. ‘Sir Gadabout’ was a high-energy, and hilarious, romp through all the things Gadabout had done in his life and ‘Peppermint on my Tongue’ was full of the similar clever rhymes that make the books so delightful.
Zog is the kind of show that sweeps you up in a magical world of dragons, catchy songs and inventive sets. As you are leaving it’s moral, you are someone special and if you keep trying, you’ll succeed in the end. The only real downside to Zog was this adaptation gave away a big plot twist early on, so when it happened on stage the effect wasn’t as impressive as it could have been. Of course, this is just nit-picking from a Donaldson/Scheffler purist, but it could have been easily avoided. Saying that Zog was a fantastic production that had memorable songs that got suck in your head. We were humming Sir Gadabout and Peppermint on my tongue on the way home. And hopefully you will be to.