A Day at Old Macdonald's Farm

CAROLINE CULOT Norwich Theatre Royal


Who could resist a day on the farm singing along to all the traditional nursery rhymes?

This colourful tale with plenty of slapstick humour, songs and a few cringey jokes was all good fun for young children. Matthew Linus Hunt sweated it out on stage giving an exuberant performance as Old MacDonald and got the children going with all the old pantomime-style favourite comedy routines. In other words, plenty of “behind you” could be heard screamed at full volume.

The show was a delight for very small children, with bright, colourful sets, larger than life characters and plenty of audience participation. The animals themselves, all life-size, looked wonderful although poor old Percy the pig (Jane Ledsom) had trouble making herself heard above the noise and a thick furry costume. There were a few little blips with the lighting during scene changes and perhaps the most glaring error was pointed out by one helpful little spectator. When the finale came for everyone to sing the song Old Macdonald's Farm complete with “all” the animals from the show, it was noted that Daisy the cow was missing. An exhausted Old Macdonald sang an extra verse, with a “moo moo here, and a moo moo there.”

As acting jobs go, this kind of show is limiting when it comes to applying the Stanislavski technique. But this cast touring with Premier Productions did a great job, against any theatrical advice of never working with children and animals.

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