How to Defeat Monsters (and get away with it) Review by Bethan Lewis

The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre co-production
Monday 10th April 2023

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Family-Friendly Monster Seeking Fun

Flossy and Boo productions have become a firm favourite with my family and How to Defeat Monsters (and get away with it) certainly didn’t disappoint. This co-production with The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre, provides an immersive, interactive experience with audience members being invited into the whacky world of Monster Seekers.

Audiences can choose between self-guided “Explore” experiences or “Performance” sessions. We attended a Performance session that was led by eccentric Monster Seeker Ramsden North and his eager pals Babbity Banesworth and Freddie North. The team introduced us to Chapter 36, the Newport branch of the monster seeking network. They explained that instead of defeating monsters, our mission as trainee monster seekers was to find out about them, discover new species and, most importantly, protect them from S.C.R.A.M – the Society for the Control and Removal of Awful Monsters.

We were invited into their impressive underground laboratory to practice our monster detection skills. The majority of the experience was self-guided, allowing the audience to explore an imaginative range of monster trapping devices and exercises, with the performers interacting with small groups on an adhoc basis. Occasionally the team stopped the action, bringing the audience together to inform them of a vital update.

The wonderful set design and dressing in the basement space really captured my children’s imagination. The space was full of creative, hands-on activities to help hone our monster seeking skills. Particular favourites included rummaging for monster food that was hidden in buckets of slime, donning hard hats to enter the tunnel of the brave, drawing monsters on a giant chalk board and packing a suitcase for an upcoming mission in the explorers tent.

The interactive elements made this experience really stand out. This style of performance was particularly great for younger children who might get a bit wriggly sitting for longer periods in a traditional theatre set up. The performers were clearly hugely experienced in improvising and responding to the audience. They made a point of speaking with each child and making them feel special by commenting on their brilliant discoveries, suggestions or questions. This was a lovely touch which gave the experience a personal feel.

It was unfortunate that S.C.R.A.M (who had an office upstairs) were back from their tea break so soon as this meant that our mission needed to come to close. We felt that we still had some more exploring left to do and could have stayed longer in the space.

Nevertheless, this was a brilliant creative experience to visit during the Easter holidays and we would definitely recommend it. The welcoming atmosphere at the Riverfront was an added bonus – we arrived early but the family sitting area equipped with shelves of books and toys kept everyone entertained.

Thank you to Flossy and Boo, Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre and Get the Chance for the opportunity to attend this performance – we had a great day out!

You can find out more about the production and book tickets here

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