That's why the arrival of Zog in Sloane Square this summer is so welcome: not only is Cadogan Hall the most gloriously air-conditioned (and conveniently located) venue in south London, Zog ticks every box for kids and their parents. The rhymes are great (as are Axel Scheffler's illustrations), the story is catchy, there are dragons and there's a fierce, feminist-y princess that every parent wants their son to befriend and their daughter to become (she ditches the ballgowns for a medical kit and becomes a flying doctor, after all).
Even better? It's part of Kids' Week, so you may only have to pay for your ticket while your child goes free (this is helpful because your child will most certainly be begging you for one of the Zog plush toys they're selling at the entrance).
Photo: The cast of Zog by Helen Maybanks
A co-production between Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston, Zog, directed by Mike Shepherd, takes us into the forest to Madam Dragon's school, where young dragons (played by people, and puppets) learn dragon essentials: how to roar, how to fly, how to burn things and how to capture a princess. Hardworking Zog is keen to win a golden star, but needs some help from Princess Pearl along the way. Good thing she's handy with a bandage or lozenge when he needs one, because he does tend to get injured often.
The show features plenty of recognisable bits: Scheffler's woodland creatures come to life as puppets, Donaldson's memorable rhymes are occasionally lifted straight off the page, as are the colourful dinosaurs in their classroom. The show also adds its own elements for kids to enjoy, like songs, with an original folk score by Johnny Flynn, a climbing-frame style set by Katie Sykes and a panto-style interactive element which encourages kids to participate and move the story along.
For us, the sign of true enjoyment was our four-year-old co-reviewer gleefully shrieking, shouting and laughing along with the rest of the audience (including the adults). And the kids managed to stay in their seats throughout the show, which lasted an hour (no interval).
The creative team also includes movement director Tom Jackson Greaves, lighting designer Ric Mountjoy, sound designer Julian Starr, puppet designer Lyndie Wright, puppet director Sarah Wright and movement and circus consultant Tina Koch.
The cast of talented actor-singer-dancer-puppeteers features Elliot MacKenzie as Zog, Emily Benjamin as Princess Pearl, Robert Ginty as Sir Gadabout the Great, Euan Wilson as Madame Dragon, and Dixie McDevitt as Harry, the pink dragon.
|What||Zog, Cadogan Hall|
|Where||Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London , SW1X 9DQ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|
31 Jul 19 – 25 Aug 19, various
|Website||Click here to book|