Champloo’s dynamic dance duo Wilkie Branson and Joêl Daniel return to Sadler’s Wells with their b-boy, bed-bouncing routine Boing!. The 50 minute Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic co-production provides wonderment and giggles for the little ones, though less so for the accompanying adults. Does it really matter when smiles are worn from ear to ear on every excited munchkin’s face? Definitely not.
Its repeated verse “If you want Santa to come, you have to go to sleep” is a common contention for children the night before Christmas. The show delightfully caters to this, providing rousing options including raucous pillow fights, chasing your sibling around the room and breakdancing in the dark. The list goes on, and as it does, each kiddo get more ramped up, now in the ‘full-know’ they are not the only ones who engage in such devilish shenanigans.
Director Sally Cookson chose sibling rivalry as her topic after seeing Branson and Daniel’s exuberant physical movement and chemistry on stage. Each wink and slap is so believable that you might think the two’s over-the-top fights (and hugs) make them eight-years-old.
The idea is genius, it’s just a shame Cookson doesn’t push Branson and Daniel to their athletic capabilities. They are clearly talented, yet the most intricate bed manoeuvre consists of lying on their backs and jumping to their feet. Where are the flips and twists? Okay, so there are children sitting near the stage and perhaps it’s a hazard issue. Still, it would have been nice to see a higher level of difficulty; after all – the show is named after bouncing on the bed.
Despite the criticism, undoubtedly any child who sees the show will be thrilled. There are plenty of be-bopping grooves and hiding-under-the-bed tactics to get the glee level sky-rocketing off the charts. It’s good value for money, and even better, it’s not another panto.
Boing! is at Sadler’s Wells in the Lilian Baylis Studio until 5 January. Performances are everyday at 11.30am and 3.00pm, except 25 and 26 December and 1 January 1. Tickets are £12 for adults and £7 for children under 16. Londonist saw this on a complimentary ticket.