The stories, thoughts, feelings, bizarre but humorous ramblings of seventy-two children from the ages of seven to eleven make up this amusing, surprising and highly original show. Created by Chris Goode and Karl James Monkey Bars uses children’s words edited together to form a verbatim script that’s spoken by an adult cast. The result is an odd but excellent piece of theatre, asking us adults to take a moment to sit and listen to what children have to say.
Its an interesting set up, adults in grown-up situations speak the words of children, for example we have a young girl whose telling us about how she writes stories but played out as if she is speaking in front of a literary festival. There is a mixture of topics that range from war and religion to discussing favourite sweets. In doing this the dialogue that we know to be from children takes on new meaning, the world of the adult becomes absurd and for a moment one wishes life was a simple as childhood.
The performance itself is strong; the cast are good physical performers and make use of the funny childlike language to great effect, being careful not to slip into just childish versions of themselves. The set is simple which works; anything more would disrupt the crucial parts of the narrative too much. The structure suitably fits the dialogue, the use of music enhances the creation of the different moments and nothing is overdone.
Sitting and listening to nothing but the words of children for an hour really gets you thinking. Some of what they say might be nonsense on the outside but peel back some layers and you can find some serious questions waiting for answers. Some of what they say has real meaning and at times can be quite disturbing. If Goode’s aim was to get adults listening to children a bit more he has undoubtedly achieved that with Monkey Bars
Monkey Bars is performed at the Traverse theatre for the duration of the fringe for more information or to book tickets please click here