top of page

REVIEW: DRAGONS AND MYTHICAL BEASTS

The Southbank Centre is Transformed into a Magical World of Myths and Legends in this Heroic Production

Dragons and mythical beasts

Despite seeing the puppeteers performing their alchemy with the rock trolls and tooth fairies, it is almost impossible to believe the Dragons and Mythical Beasts are not real, in this eye-popping production.


We head to Queen Elizabeth Hall for the first day of the Olivier-nominated show’s latest burst of Southbank Centre performances, from the team behind 2018’s smash hit, Dinosaur World Live.


It tells the story of Dave (Ben Galpin), a gentle, Jon Ronson-esque character who is desperate to become the hero his father wants him to be, but by being kind, rather than following the cruel example of his dad.


stone troll

My daughter and the other tiny guests are spellbound as we join his quest to gather magical ingredients (golden keys, unicorn horns, diamonds) from the menagerie of creatures, to summon the fabled Indrik and claim the title of hero. 


First up, comes an enormous, stone troll with a wonderfully expressive, rock face. Our hero calls a little audience member on stage to help him seize its diamond, by replacing it with coal, rather than smashing it with a mallet as his dad would have done.


So begins an endless succession of mythical creatures to tame and outwit, each more dazzling than the last.


unicorn pupper

A hilariously sassy unicorn seems to take over the entire stage with its presence, while a boy from the audience assists Dave in taking magical filings from its hoof, instead of removing the horn, which would have killed it.


Japanese baku

Relieved laughs are drawn from the children, when Dave warns us to prepare for a terrifying beast, before an adorable, elephant-like, Japanese Baku waddles onto the stage to slurp nightmares from glowing dream jars with its trunk.


Griffin

There’s a majestic Griffin, guarding a golden key in a pile of rubbish - which our hero swaps for a half-eaten sandwich - Dave’s adorable baby dragon, George, who tumbles around the stage like a playful puppy, winning the hearts of big and little viewers.


A tiny, floating fairy is placed within a giant magnifying lens and transforms into an astonishing, 2ft creature, with a wonderfully unexpected, geezer personality and gruff voice, hurling duff teeth over her shoulder and delighting in the perfect molars she’s presented with.


tooth fairy

It’s extraordinary to watch, as her ears flutter, her eyes blink and dart about and her graceful body moves so convincingly, while her gossamer wings unfurl, that it feels like bonafide sorcery.


dragons and mythical beasts

More, breathtaking theatre magic is created when the giant dragon launches itself across the stage in a blaze of fire and smoke - my daughter squeals in delight and nervously grips my arm. 


They even manage to top this, when the mysterious Indrik - who our hero has spent the show trying to summon - dramatically emerges from the blue shadows. It is huge, imposing, full of life and its body is made up of intricate tree bark and roots, bursting with wild mushrooms.


Indrik

Finally, Dave and the entire audience celebrate as they all claim their newfound hero titles.


Although the true heroes are puppet designer Max Humphries and the extraordinary puppeteers, who have created the most visually thrilling children’s show you can currently wrap your eyeballs around.


Dragons and Mythical Beasts, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX. 3 - 7 April. Part of Spring Family Fun. Tickets from £14pp.


Comentários


Join our mailing list
bottom of page