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Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Pop-Up! The Amazing Adventures of Moo Dong

Theatre Bom (Korea)

Genre: Children's Theatre


C - Chambers Street


Low Down

 A young girl from a painting comes to life and explores other famous works in a memorable performance that brilliantly introduces children to art …


 In a performance that includes puppetry, masks, dance, physical theatre and multi-media, Theatre Bom tell the very simple story of a young girl, Moo Dong, who comes to life from inside a painting, and explores other famous paintings in a gallery.  There is limited spoken word throughout the piece … some words are spoken in English, others in Korean, but an English voice-over helps audience members understand the action.

What a magnificent and stimulating way to introduce well-known pieces of art to children.  Each subject is explored in a memorable and colourful way that children can remember, and the overall story simple enough so as not to overshadow the stories that develop for each painting.  Staging and set has been well thought out, as has costume design.  The three performers manage to manipulate the set and props expertly along with several costume changes, and everything is enhanced beautifully with lighting and a sound-track.
A huge amount of thought and creativity has gone into the development of this piece.  Someone who truly understands the way that children learn must have been involved, as it has been designed to engage and teach in a sensory style.  Each painting subject is dealt with in a different way, with some even becoming interactive with the audience.  Archimboldo’s Fruit Face ‘Summer’, for example, is a jigsaw that Moo Dong has the audience help her with to put back together.  After putting it together once, she manages to knock it down again, and it magically becomes another one of Archimboldo’s creations, the rotatable ‘Vegetables In A Bowl Or The Gardner’.  Picasso’s ‘Piano’ features a fabulous puppet dog, and Salvadore Dali’s ‘Sleep’ a magnificently huge puppet face.   
Although absorbing, I personally feel that the performance would have benefited from being slightly shorter.  Reducing the number of paintings explored by even one would still have left me feeling satisfied (and my children were starting to wriggle).  At one stage, the performers don very colourful masks and come and dance in the crowd.  Some of the smaller children were a little frightened at this, and the performers could have chosen to avoid them in preference for some of the older children present.  
The general feeling of the audience members around me, however, was one of sincere appreciation for the performance and I am sure would agree with me that this is a great experience, well worth seeing.
Four stars:  Highly Recommended.