Michael Rosen's Chocolate Cake
 

 

Michael Rosen's Chocolate Cake

Malvern Theatres

***

My daughter loves We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and like most five years olds she is very partial to chocolate cake. So, Polka’s production of Michael Rosen’s poem was somewhat of an easy sell.

It tells the age-old tale of temptation. In this case, a little boy who cannot resist his mother’s chocolate cake to the point where thinking about it causes him to forget things in class.

He loves it so much that he thinks his mom could be the next Great British Bake Off champion. And so, when she makes one for his older brother’s birthday, the enticement becomes too great.

The young boy, Michael (Rosen) is performed with effervescence by Mark Houston who displays a character who may be weak of will, but full of heart. Todd Heppenstall has the most roles as Michael’s older brother, Joe, the best friend Harrybo and the school inspector, and he garners most of the chuckles. Aminita Francis is charming as both the mum and the teacher but I would have liked to have seen her interpretation of a child character.

Verity Quinn’s stage design was simple and bright and the scene transitions from kitchen to classroom to bedroom were inventive and, as they were done during the songs, it was never distracting. The colourful images of Michael’s imagination on the screen behind seemed underused though. The reveal of the huge chocolate cake did get gasps from the youngsters and I must admit there was feeling of being a tad peckish at this point.

The songs were catchy and toe-tappy and did enough to add another layer to the slight tale.

At 45 minutes or so duration, this would be suitable for viewers younger than five before they began to fidget. All in all, a very small slice of cake, but a sweet one nonetheless.

Matthew Trimble

09-06-18 

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