You’ve got Dragons is a short, one act play targeted towards families and young children. Based on the book of the same title by Kathryn Cave, it follows Benjamina’s (Axelina Heagney) journey to come to terms with her dragons.
Despite a fairly slow start, this gave plenty of time to admire not only the chalkboard-effect set, designed by Stacey-Jo Atkinson but also the original music composed by Dan Lawrence which was still soft enough to allow chatting among the audience.
As the performance started, the introductions of Chloe Clarke and Hermon Berhane as the dragons caused gasps to come from the audience although humour was quickly created again through ‘old man dragon’s’ farting, which had many giggles coming from the audience.
Not only was Benjamina’s relationship with her dragon developed but her relationship with her father (James William Ward, who successfully played multiple roles) was too. The scene with Ben refusing to go to sleep was probably familiar to the many parents in the audience.
Having seen previous Taking Flight performances, I was interested in seeing how they created an accessible show while ensuring it was simple enough for children to follow. And they have delivered! Young children were clearly considered by Director Elise Davidson in all aspects of the performance, the caption boxes often use colourful pictures in place of long paragraphs of text while BSL and audio description were interwoven so well that they felt like an integral part of the story rather than being a distraction.
The performance is also often highly visual, creating many beautiful moments such as the postman where the cast used ribbons to create an image of a bike, while also adding audience interaction to make the children feel fully involved in Ben’s story.
Overall, the performance clearly highlighted for me how naturally Taking Flight have succeeding in creating an inclusive performance for children while still managing to make it enjoyable for all ages.