Koko the Crocodile
A little touch of Africa
This article is from 2008.
Mara Menzies is fairly new to the storytelling game, but has taken to it like a duck to water. Or rather, like a crocodile to a riverbank – much like the wriggling, paw-waving one that appears in her charming new show. Based on Menzies’ recently published picture book of the same name, Koko the Crocodile is a traditional African tale about a poorly reptile looking for medical advice. Told to locate and eat a monkey’s liver, he sets off downstream to an island populated by primates. But fear not, the monkeys are far too clever to give up a vital organ.
Enlisting the help of fellow-storyteller ‘Mama Africa’ and two cute-as-a-button young girls, Menzies fills the tale with inspired theatrical touches, while Koko’s companion piece, ‘How the Hyena Got Its Laugh’, features Menzies dressed up in an array of innovative hand-made costumes. Both Menzies and Mama Africa build a lovely rapport with their young audience, from toddlers upwards, all of whom they invite onto the stage at the end of the show (along with accompanying adults) to get creative with a monkey mask. Using tiny bits of material, pencils and glue, we all make a colourful reminder of the show to take home, although if this is anything to go by, Menzies herself will be back next year with bigger and better things to remember her by.
The Zoo, 662 6892, until 25 Aug, 11am, £6 (£4).