Dr Zeiffal, Dr Zeigal and the Hippo that Can Never Be Caught had a sold out run in 2016 at the Brighton Fringe, and now these madcap doctors are set to conquer London too, with a premiere at the 2017 Vaults Festival.
This show is certainly different, and the children were mostly entertained. The brainchild of Georgia Murphy, Oli Weatherly and Louise Dickinson, it is an hour of interactive fun and vast imaginative ideas. Murphy, Weatherly and Dickinson together form Mouths of Lions Touring Theatre Company, who are ‘playful, comical and always celebrates big imaginations.’ Imagination is certainly rife in this show, and even the adults are swept along into believing that there really is a hippo on the loose.
This certain hippo even makes a special appearance, prompting a whole load of pantomime style ‘He’s behind you’ fun. This is just the start of the audience participation; Dr Zeiffal (Murphy) talks and responds directly to the audience throughout, notably answering the excited shouts and questions of the youngsters who are watching. There are moments when specific children are picked to help out (suggest sitting them at the front if they want a chance), and a really beautiful part where almost all the children end up on stage. They must try to help Dr Zeiffal out of the (invisible) hippo trap. Listening only to her instructions, it is imagination and teamwork at its finest for the thinkers of tomorrow.
It is also a nice, positive change to see a female scientist; even if she for some reason gets addressed by the other Doctor as ‘Sir.’ Murphy and Weatherly can be applauded for their performances; engaged and animated throughout.
It does feel that the show takes its time to get going. The children are all excited enough, but the long pauses between some lines did cause some minds to wonder. During the performance, there’s no worry about children shouting out or moving around, and why should there be. In other shows, it may not be appropriate to admit latecomers fifteen minutes in, but it wasn’t frowned upon here; the overall feel was a relaxed one.
At some points the stage was left completely empty, which most adults would probably think a bizarre thing to happen in the middle of a show; despite the sounds heard it was almost as if the stage was abandoned. The children, however, could not contain their excitement at what might happen or might appear next.
This show even has a rather moving ending, where all in the audience can’t help but feel so pleased for Dr Zeiffal and all the obstacles that she has overcome. Take your kids to see this and let their imaginations run wild. It seems that the underlying message here, if the audience would like to find one, is that if you are passionate about something, and work hard, then you may well end up with your dreams coming true.
Review by H Hemming
Calling all hippo expert enthusiasts! Wild hippos have been sighted in Waterloo…
Mouths of Lions take you on a hunt for the hippo that can never be caught in a weird and wonderful family show for all ages. Kids will be storming the stage to join Dr Zeiffal (a Special Archeological Scientist Hippo Expert) as she searches in vain for the wild hippo of the United Kingdom of England.
Devised by Gaulier graduates Georgia Murphy and Oliver Weatherly, Dr Zeiffal uses clowning and slapstick to draw kids and big kids onstage to join in the fun. Inspired by finds of real life prehistoric hippo bones in the UK, this madcap interactive adventure won the Best Family Award at the 2016 Buxton Fringe Festival.
Bring your hippo catchers, because Dr. Zeiffal has most likely lost hers…
Sat & Sun only from 28th Jan – 26th Feb 2017
2:30pm, Vaults Festival, Cage
Age Guidance 5+