Mister Maker HEad

mister maker

Mister Maker, Phil Gallagher, with Leah Green (left) and Jenny Phillips

Mister Maker Live

The New Alexandra Theatre

****

IT is eight years since Phil Gallagher took his first 60 second challenge as Mister Maker and six series – a seventh starts filming early next year - and a world tour later he is still making children happy.

The show has been sold to more than 200 territories and the stage show is already an international hit, returning to Australia next year

Live, Mister Maker is a high octane journey, a mix of favourite bits of the TV show, pantomime, musical and pop concert all moving along at a breakneck pace in a show that is satisfyingly long by children’s entertainment standards, more than 80 minutes, plus interval, but time seems to fly by.

Gallagher is assisted by four helpers, Samuel Parker, Rhys Wyn-Owen and Leah Green, along with Jenny Phillips who is also choreographer for Imagine Theatre’s pantomimes and will be back at Coventry Belgrade for her third season this Christmas.

The helpers sing, dance, act as stage hands and video whenever children . . . or their associated adults (the panto bits) are brought up (reluctantly in the adults’ case) to assist.

In the children’s case they took on minute challenges, assisted by helpers, while in the adult’s case it was making the noises of a snake, a fluffy bug and an elephant to Old Macdonald - and don’t we just love watching adults squirm on stage, there but for the grace of God and all that.

Audience participation starts as soon as the house lights go down and doesn’t end until they come up again when it just becomes the noise of excited children heading home.

And there is hardly time to draw breath as Gallagher and his four cohorts bounce and race around the stage at breakneck pace in front of a giant video screen which becomes an interactive display, no more so than as a giant clock for the 60 second countdown for the minute make it when Mister Maker manages not just one item but three in a minute while singing a song.

It is sort of the Mister Maker equivalent of the ventriloquist singing while drinking a glass of water.

As you might expect the shapes play a large part in the show with their own dance and there is a simple, but clever piece of audience participation with sheets of coloured paper which must be a bit of a logistical headache for the cast and stage crew.

There are plenty of songs, often involving clapping, arms in the air and actions as well as various shouts and responses all prompted by the colourful video screen and every moment you could see flashes and camera lights as families videoed and photographed away to their heart’s content.

Gallagher, who wrote the show, even encouraged it, asking people to tweet their pictures with the show’s hashtag.

Directed by Paul Hendy, there is an educational element as well as an encouragement to actually us imagination and make things but most of all it was fun   which meant a lot of children went home happy and thinking a theatre was a wonderful place – and there is nothing wrong with that.

Roger Clarke

10-10-15

The show’s tour brings it back to the Midlands at Stoke ‘s Regent Theatre on March 31 next year, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, 28-29 May.

http://mistermakerlive.co.uk/ 

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