Me and My Bee by This Egg – The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
Co-created and performed by Josie Dale-Jones, Joe Boylan and Greta Mitchell, Me and My Bee is a play about climate change. It’s a huge subject that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a children’s show but it works. A ‘political party disguised as a party party disguised as a show’ is how we’re introduced to proceedings and how we’re going to ‘save the bee, save the world!’. It’s an important and caring message, winningly put across through singing, dancing and awkwardness. It’s a really funny show, particularly Joe Boylan as the bee. His claims to be ‘only small’ (very untrue) consistently got a lot of giggles. The silliness is undercut by the big and serious message but the performers make it accessible and interesting for children (and adults).
There were minor issues with some of the audience though. The show is most definitely kid friendly but I think it works best for children over the age of 6. Younger ones will enjoy some of the spectacle but a lot of the message will go over their heads. There’s great interaction and engagement with the audience but it’s not the kind that will stop a two year old getting restless. It highlighted an issue with children’s theatre for me, in that if people have children of multiple ages they can’t just leave the littlest ones at home. Children’s theatre then has to aim for all ages, something that’s mad difficult to achieve and perhaps means that more nuanced shows like this one have to fight that bit harder to resonate. A tiny one literally screaming (not crying, just sitting and going ‘ahhhhhhhhhhh’ for seemingly no reason) is going to throw anyone off.
This is a really lovely show. It’s unusual, inventive, full of heart, and has a great message. It’s well worth seeing. Fun for some of the family!