'Crazy Hair' – Bamboozle Theatre
With playful energy and plenty of colourful props, ‘Crazy Hair’ by Bamboozle is a sensory treat for children. This adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s popular picture book sees a cast of four interacting with young audience members early on, as Bonnie – the play’s 12-year-old protagonist with a passion for collecting – passes bric-a-brac and toys to spectators for safe keeping. Soon Bonnie’s father (or ‘Mister’ as she calls him), and his mass of burgundy dreadlocks with bright beads, appears. Bonnie imagines herself climbing into the extraordinary haido, wherein a series of bizarre adventures begin.
Sue Pyecroft, Bamboozle Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director and Puppetry Developer, has created memorable puppets for the show that complement the set’s bamboo backdrop and jungle theme. This includes a small flock of red cockatoos that come to life on the tips of the cast’s fingers.
Bamboozle’s efforts to encourage children, particularly those with special needs, to interact with the puppets is a joy to watch and no child is left out – these feathery creations chirp and tweet excitedly and you could be lucky enough to have one rest on your shoulder! A blue monkey puppet is also convincingly animated as he jumps across the set causing mischief, but the highlight is a realistic tiger rod puppet who stalks his way about, seeking fuss from his audience and creating a Mexican wave-style wash of smiles on astonished faces, as little hands reach out to pet him.
The cast’s musical skills are put to good use with singing and gentle acoustic guitar. At times, even the set’s bamboo walls are used as percussion. Fluttering butterflies, bright streamers and bags of treasure (when Bonnie finds herself onboard a pirate ship, naturally) are all added to the kaleidoscope mix. When a piece of dreamy music kicks in, and hot air balloons seem to hover above our heads during a night time scene, there’s no doubt the climb inside Mister’s wacky hairdo was well worth the effort.
Royal and Derngate, Northampton