Ofegus Theatre Company are back with another children’s show set in the fantasy land of Enchantasia. This time the Crown Princess Aliana (Niamh Hogan) is missing and her throne has been taken by her idiotic cousin, Prince Archibald (Liam McCarthy) who’s being manipulated by the evil Sorceress Scarlina (Amy Flood). Tristan, a Knight of the Royal Guard (a brilliant Aron Hegarty) must find her and restore peace to the land.
The company’s trademark style is minimal sets and clever scripting. The last production was staged in Smock Alley’s quirky brick walled space and each character sparkled. The backdrop of the drab Mill Theatre stage coupled with low energy meant no amount of swashbuckling could improve it the day I went. It was a half-full house but the children were there were dying to get involved.
A motley crew of Tristan, the princess, a fairy (charmingly played by Sarah Ahern), and a nervous bogeyman (Stephen Gorman) seek the help of the Whacky Wiz (Bosco Hogan) in order to get rid of Scarlina. They meet many magical characters and overcome challenges along the way before restoring Aliana’s crown and not forcing her to marry anyone, which is always nice. Niamh Hogan and Hegarty are impressive with their sword skills but the comic timing of Gorman and Flood is outstanding. Bosco Hogan is an excellent Wizard and fair play to Ian Harding for playing a smorgasboard of characters.
Small children will love it and relish the chance at meeting everyone on stage at the end. However, the overall feeling was a bit flat. To fill this venue they’d need to whip up a bit more energy and audience participation. Let the villains be more villainous and the urgency be more urgent to sweep the whole audience up into their carefully crafted world. The young actors should have been running up and down the steps and the music could have been much livelier without going down the panto route. Children will never criticise something for being over the top. Hopefully the talented Ofegus troupe will come back refreshed and enthusiastic for their next outing.
Review by JM
Runs at the Mill Theatre until 5th January @ 2.30pm.