Mission... Save The World at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant REVIEW: 'A show that’s both strong and smart'
It’s an age-old tale – brains versus brawn, and in this children’s show it’s given a smart superhero twist.
Captain Clever (Luke Walker) and Captain Conker (Lois Mackie) are a crime-fighting team, but they have just one problem – they can’t agree on how to do anything, and keep failing their missions as a result.
While Clever is good at code breaking and problem solving, Conker is super-fast and not scared of anything.
Sue Johnston, of Waking The Dead and The Royle Family fame, provides the voice of Mission Control, who tells our less-than-dynamic duo that they need to sort their act out, or they will be relegated from saving the world to dreaded ‘minor missions.’
As they attempt to work out who should be in charge we learn about the importance of telling the truth, trust, teamwork and compromise. But it’s all done in service of the plot, rather than delivering a heavy-handed message in a Batman-esque ‘Thwack!’ to the head.
Walker is suitably pompous as the brainy Clever, while Mackie is clearly having fun with the more physical Conker – making good use of the old climbing frame set.
Although the two are superheroes, the action remains rather more grounded in low-key ‘real’ life, anyone expecting Marvel-style action will be disappointed.
But the lad across the aisle was literally on the edge of his seat and open-mouthed at the show’s climax.
Pitched as for children aged five-plus, my twin four-year-olds nonetheless remained engaged throughout, and were able to follow most of the action on stage.
There’s also a rather nice subtle twist at the end, which I suspect may have gone over the heads of some of the youngsters, when the true nature of our heroes and their relationship to Mission Control is revealed.
With 40 years in children’s theatre, the M6 Company know their audience, and successfully delivers a show that’s both strong and smart.