Kids shows are tricky business. They need to be big, bright, light and musical. They need to engage young audiences quickly and hold their attention. Big costumes, catchy songs and audience participation are generally crucial to success.
For the first time in years, Luna Park is offering a school holiday kids’ show and it ticks some of the boxes. Stompin’ The Swamp stars Shrek, Princess Fiona and an exuberant party planner fairy. Shrek has forgotten his wedding anniversary and the arrival of the fairy helps cover his mistake. The fairy insists that Shrek and Fiona pick a song for their anniversary dance. This sets the scene for the three characters to bob around to songs like Macarena, La Cucaracha and Love Shack (reworked to Swamp Shack!)
While the music is fun and lively and probably even somewhat recognizable to older children, the premise of a forgotten anniversary is tenuous for a kids show. The importance of appreciating a spouse on a wedding anniversary is a hard sell to a three year old. It’s not the most effective plot hook out there.
Shrek and Fiona give it their darn best boogie-ing in massive green padded suits, but there is still a one-dimensionality to the show. It’s all delivered from one spot on a raised platform surrounded by a set of ferns and rocks tinged with green lights. Kids are encouraged to huddle in close to the stage, but unless there’s a full house of hyper-active kids ready to jump to their feet and dance away, the show will quite likely fall flat. Unfortunately it did on my viewing since there were only about 20 of us in the house and the handful of kids didn’t participate.
Stompin’ The Swamp runs for 25 minutes and includes a Shrek ears cloth headband. It’s good value for the $10 ticket price and not a bad way to wile away a school holiday afternoon, even if no little people get in on the action. Entry to Luna Park is free, but with the temptation of rides and show bags, it still could be an expensive proposition!
Stompin’ The Swamp
Venue: Luna Park, Melbourne
Dates: 18 Sep 2010 - 3 Oct 2010
Times: 1pm | 2pm | 3pm | 4pm (four shows daily)
Tickets: $10 | Show and Photo $15