REVIEW: The Chimpanzees of Happy Town, Crucible Theatre

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A PACKED house, great music and plenty of audience participation - the premiere of this show aimed at two to seven-year-olds suggests it should charm the nation.

The story of how Chutney the chimpanzee transforms Drabsville into Happy Town put a smile on the faces of old and young alike.

Skillfully narrated by Polly Ives with excellent playing from Ensemble 360, the performance drew in even the most reluctant child and got them reacting the story and the music.

Prior to the performance, children had been encouraged to create a flower which they then waved as Happy Town took shape.

It was an example of how a simple technique drew so many in.

This continued during the show as children tapped their fingers to create the sound of rain falling and shouted at the miserable mayor of Drabsville.

The audience had become part of the show so no wonder they clapped so rapturously at the end. It was applause which was richly earned.

Written by Paul Rissman and baed on the book by Giles Andreae, the Chimpanzees of Happy Town will now tour the UK.

And if the quality of this performance is sustained, Music In The Round looks like it has another hit on its hands.