Primetime 2015, at the Royal Court Theatre (review)

The Royal Court Theatre takes up an impressive side of Sloane Square, Chelsea.

As an adult I have been to several productions there, but it is less well known for its offer for kids.  I was therefore very interested when, browsing through its website, I found out about this year’s Primetime. Primetime 2015 is a series of short plays written by children themselves of 8 to 11 years old, and put on by a small cast of 6 actors during a week at the end of July through to the beginning of August (I’m sorry to say you have missed it for this year).  Not only was it intended for slightly older kids (there are tons of shows for the under fives, but far fewer for the over eights), but the plays are actually written by the same age group as my kids. This was a must see – and it would hopefully also inspire my children to write more themselves (my daughter in particular is keen on writing, which I am always happy to encourage).

Primetime 2015 was on at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs and we had to squeeze onto spaces on the floor, adults and kids alike.  Already we had to talk to our neighbours and were having fun in a not very typically British way!

There were eight different stories, each written by a different child and seemingly on any theme, which included money, space travel, monsters vs humans and poo.  The brightly-dressed cast was impressive and engaging, and between them took on a myriad of characters, comedy, sang, danced, used their props and space deftly, and even travelled to space for a rap battle.  The cast members were not afraid to approach the audience, which my kids found a bit unnerving but also brilliant! As a whole the show was funny and varied; our favourite individual stories were Chicken Wings in Space by Yaseen Mohamed (even for the title alone) and The Human Monster (by Lola Clark).  I was also impressed that, whereas most of the plays were light-hearted, Lost (by Zed Levy) was quite an intriguing thriller.

Adults and children alike clearly loved Primetime 2015.  I personally laughed out loud several times.  It was only on for a week so you do have to keep an eye open for it in the listings next year.  Hopefully it will return next summer and, if that’s the case, I would make sure you get your ticket.  You might even find yourself watching work by playwrights of the future.  Three cheers to the Royal Court Theatre for this initiative to encourage our young writers, and what a boost for these youngsters to have their ideas turned into realities by an accomplished group of creatives.

Disclaimer:  We were given free tickets to see Primetime 2015 for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own. All photos are my own; the video is copyright of Royal Court Theatre.

For full theatre listings, see the Royal Court Theatre website.

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