Simply monstrous way to manage

30th May 1997 at 01:00
The Last Noo-Noo. The Polka Theatre for Children, London

Polka Theatre's The Last Noo-Noo is a pleasant outing for children under seven. Adaptor and director Vicky Ireland has transformed Jill Murphy's 12-page picture book into a full-length play, losing nothing of the original while adding a wealth of material about starting school, coping with bullies and the growth of self-esteem.

This is a simple story about how five-year-old Marlon (a small monster) learns to manage without sucking his dummy - or noo-noo. He must begin to be independent from kindly Mum and Granny and acquire the toughness and tolerance needed to deal with the taunts of his schoolfriends. Children identify with him easily: the games he plays are from the real world (I particularly liked Incey Wincey Spiderman) and Ireland whisks her audience along with a host of theatrical devices - song, bright design, puppet work and, above all, humour.

Central to the show's success is Dale Superville as Marlon. Last seen at the Polka as Wilbur in Charlotte's Web and known from ITV's Rainbow, Superville can act the child without condescension.

Effortlessly able to sing, dance and generally throw himself about, he talks to the children with an appealing directness and charm.

Until June 7 at the Polka Theatre 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon. Tickets: 0181 543 4888.

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