Barney's Magic Number Show

This week children's editor Belinda Sommers reviews Barney's Magic Number Show currently running at the Haymarket in Leicester

Ha! Well, as far as I'm concerned, Barney's Magic Number Show was a dead loss. Call that art? Call it drama? Call it family entertainment, 'cos I bleeding don't. Quite honestly, if this is what passes for cutting edge quality entertainment these days, then my pants might as well be doing a six-week run in the West End. It makes me sick to the stomach to think that I paid good money to watch a bunch of uninspired, talentless pillocks dressed in stupid costumes, leaping and dancing and poncing about, and singing ridiculous little ditties about how everybody should be nice to each other, and generally behaving like a bunch of retards.

I wasn't asking for much, but these people didn't seem to understand the first thing about modern theatre. Where was the intrigue? Where was the sparkling dialogue? Where was the conflict, the drama, the eternal struggle to rise above the odds and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? Where, in point of fact, was the plot? The story, what there was of it, seemed to revolve around the efforts of a purple dinosaur to learn elementary arithmetic - not the most thrilling of scenarios, I'm sure you'll agree, and I doubt whether any of the major studios will be beating a path to their door to snatch up the film rights.

The damn thing wasn't even realistic. I'm no palaeontologist, but I'm pretty sure that your actual real dinosaurs weren't bright purple, were not overly concerned with becoming competent in basic numeracy, and were not in the habit of donning a top hat and tails and performing a soft-shoe shuffle. The last time I saw a dinosaur less convincing than this effort, Doug McClure was attacking it with a stick.

Actually, a bit of violence would have spiced it up no end. About halfway through the first act it looked as though things were about to kick off, as the stage suddenly filled with children who began to dance rings around the purple dinosaur. Hello, I thought to myself, sitting up in my seat, this is going to be a blood bath. But no, I'm afraid not. The kids all sat cross-legged on the floor and the dinosaur told them a story about numbers, or something. No blood. No guts. No dismembered torsos or entrails flying across the auditorium. All that died were my hopes for an end to this dreary nonsense, and I became resigned to the fact that the rest of this show was going to be about as sexy as a bucket of sick. I think it was at this point that I decided I'd rather have my tits jammed repeatedly in a filing cabinet than have to sit through the rest of this sober, and so I slunk back down in my seat and retreated to comforting warmth of the bottle of scotch that I had thoughtfully concealed in my handbag before the performance.

And then, at last, came the interval. Best bit of the whole show in my opinion. Disappointingly, the bar was shut but I wasn't too bothered, since I was already sorted, so I went out the back for a ciggie and watched two dogs shagging by the stage door. Damn sight more entertaining than all those tossers jigging about on stage. Anyway, on with the second half.

Actually, by this point I had mellowed slightly. Maybe it was the drink, I don't know, but I started to feel warm and fuzzy. Okay, so the show was diabolical, but at least they were trying, and so I felt compelled to offer some constructive criticism of my own. Following a song and dance routine about what happens when you add the number seven to the number two, I stood up and shouted stuff like, 'You're shit, get off!' and 'Hey big nose, go and slash your wrists, you worthless prick!'

I was only trying to be helpful, but they didn't want to know, did they? These two security blokes came up and told me that I had to leave. They said I'd upset some of the kids, or something. Some of them were crying and blubbing - you know, the way that kids do. I explained that if these kids were indeed crying then it was because of this bloody awful show, and nothing to do with me. The two apes were not inclined to follow my reasoning, and started to manhandle me away, implying that I was drunk. Well, I took great offence at that. I shook myself free, stood my ground and explained very slowly and carefully that I was not drunk, that I was perfectly capable of holding my liquor and that they should both fuck off and leave me alone.

I think it was at that point that I was sick. I think, if I remember correctly, it was quite a gusher as well - which can't have really helped my case. I recall a bit of a kerfuffle, a lot of shouting and someone falling over and getting covered in vomit. Actually, that may have been me. They started to bundle me towards the exit, which can't have been easy because I was quite slippery by then. Also, I'm sure I made it perfectly clear that I wasn't going to go without a fight. I certainly gave one of those baboons a black eye, and I'm reasonably confident that I got the other one in the knackers. Not that it did me much good, however, and I was soon hurled out into the street. I couldn't even get my money back.

So anyway, that was Barney's Magic Number Show. Crap. Take my advice, stay at home and rent a DVD instead.

Next month Belinda reviews Cinderella On Ice at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

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