We went to the Unicorn Theatre on London’s South Bank on Saturday to see ‘My Mother Told Me Not to Stare’, which was a production by Hullabaloo. The Hullabaloo is a company from the North of England who offer opera suitable for children.

The theatre was very little and it was full. The stage was very low because it was just the ground with lots of rocks on to make it interesting. I didn’t think it looked very exciting to begin with.

Then, when the lights went off a bizarre man walked in, he looked very strange with short curly grey hair and unusual clothes. He looked into a big glass bowl with a model village in it. He started to sing a story about some of the things that happened in the village. The song sounded beautiful with such high and low notes. I’m used to listening to rock music so this was something very different for me and it made an immediate impression on me. The story was about a boy, Bobby Rogers, who loved a girl in the village called Emily Ives. If children did not follow the rules in this village they would disappear. The narrator appeared many times to sing their tale.

Puppets and shadow projection were also used to tell the story and add to the plot. There were only 5 people in the whole production. Bobby and Emily were people. Bobby’s parents were life size puppets. All the babies were dolls and the other children were puppets. Apart from the baby dolls all the puppets were controlled differently and looked like their characters personality. Even the real people wore masks sometimes! The round screen in the background showed scenery, and backgrounds and sometimes important parts of the story! It was all very funny and surreal and interesting.

The costumes were just ordinary clothes; just like the clothes you would wear everyday, nothing exciting. But the narrator looked very different he wore a costume a bit like Johnny Depp in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The entire story was told in a song, but that didn’t make it difficult to follow. The song put more expression into the words and added more meaning to the tale, helping you to understand it more.

It was a very happy ending for Bobby and Emily, who stopped the baddie and fell in love again. When I came out of the theatre I felt happy that I’d seen it because it made me feel very good.

Eloise Leach, age 7

credit: Sylvia Selzer