Last Saturday Monkey and I caught the train to Banbury. My little adventurer was going to see Alfie White: Space Explorer at The Mill Arts Centre.
Monkey loves anything to do with space and has his own rocket ship, so I knew he’d be excited to see the show. We’ve seen a few performances at The Mill Arts Centre, in Banbury now. Monkey likes the fact it’s smaller than other theatres we go to, so the whole experience is a little quieter for him. We tend to catch the train to make an adventure of the day, but there’s lots of play and display parking around the site. A quick catch up with the resident pirate has also become a little tradition.
The Mill has a bar which also serves lovely coffee and soft drinks, with a separate seating area which is ideal for kids. We grabbed a drink and waited for the doors to open. One rather excited Monkey was counting down to blast off.
Alfie White: Space Explorer at The Mill Arts Centre was being performed by Tall Stories as part of their UK tour of the production. It’s a 2 man show based on the story written by Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell.
We meet Alfie White, a space obsessed youngster, in 1967. He lives with his Gran, his mother left him as a baby and his Dad Edward disappeared a few years ago. Poor Alfie is seen as a bit of a nerd at school and the only friend he really has is Meg.
Wanting to become more popular Alfie tells a lie, a rather big lie. He tells everyone that his Dad hasn’t disappeared, and that in fact he’s the Astronaut Edward White who’s preparing to go on the Apollo 1 space mission. He goes from zero to hero at school, right up until the mission goes horribly wrong and the Apollo 1 astronauts are killed.
He eventually opens up to Meg and the truth comes pouring out. Being the friend that Meg is, she decided that they have their own mission to complete, a mission to find Alfie’s missing father.
It’s a lovely story of friendship, adventure and belief and the play works really cleverly as the actor playing Meg, takes turns as Sid at school, Alfie’s Gran, along with the owner of the Blue Moon Jazz Club and Ron’s Record Shop. My 6 year old son was entranced and understand the plot throughout. Of course he might well have giggled when Sid picked his nose, it’s such a boy thing. The production lasts for 55 minutes with no interval, which my son finds more than manageable these days.
You can get a feel of Alfie White: Space Explorer in this video:
Aimed at children aged 5 years and over, the tour runs until 20th November 2016. Pop over to Tall Stories for more information on venues and dates. It’s well worth seeing if you have the opportunity. For more information of future productions being staged at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury, visit their website.
disclosure: we were given complimentary tickets for this performance in exchange for our honest opinion