This show for children keeps adult meddling to a minimum by keeping them out of the show
Beastie, by British company Lone Twin, is less a theatre performance than an interactive piece of storytelling. Aimed at children between the ages of six and 10, it begins with a short drama game in which the performers establish relationships with the children and the rules for what will follow. After a short video, the children help the actors to unpack their trunk of theatrical equipment, the costume for a mysterious beast who has lately been seen in the strangest of places.
As one of the actors begins the elaborate ritual of becoming Beastie, the children decide what sort of a character he is; on the occasion of this viewing, a lonely Martian called Rooney who has a fear of human beings, baked beans and giant lollipops. What the children cannot control, however, is how Rooney will behave when he is let loose on the streets.
Darryl Worbey Studios have created a beautiful beast with Moomin-like features which evoke a gentle rather than a fearsome nature. Although he is what the children want him to be, it is impossible to imagine him as foe rather than friend, and the real-world adventure he takes the children on through the streets of Temple Bar transforms Beastie from storytelling exercise into something more special.
As an observer rather than a participant, however, it is impossible to make a critical judgment. This is not theatre for the spectator but a role-playing game for the under-age initiate; parents are not allowed to accompany children for a reason. Under the supervision of Lone Twin and the Ark’s team of chaperones, the children are not performing for their families; rather, they got lost in the action. The younger children in particular seem especially willing to submit, but by the end even the wary and self-conscious pre-teens are persuaded to feed and embrace him, and to accept his parting gift.