Review: The Forest of Forgotten Discos

5*
Contact Theatre (Manchester) and Jackie Hagan
This closed at Hope Mill Theatre on the 23rd Dec

Red is nine, and she isn’t scared of anything – and she’s run away from home and into the forest. There she meets Alexa – a virtual assistant built entirely from old technology, who introduces her to some bears: Bear Hug, Bear Minimum and Bear Grills – who each have their own reason for being stranded in the forest. For years they’ve all had discos together, but this year they’ve forgotten how to throw them, and can’t seem to remember why.

The Forest of Forgotten Discos is a totally unique Christmas show: it’s inclusive, it’s a whole lot of fun – and whether you’re a child or an adult you’re definitely in for a great time. From the moment the doors open and Alexa starts scanning the audience, there’s a feeling of togetherness and enjoyment that lasts all the way through (and some pretty great bear-themed dance moves)

There’s a character for everyone, and the actors bring them all to life with fun and dynamic performances that don’t leave anyone out: even as adults sat at back back we were invited to participate and never forgotten about. The story is powerful – it’s not a stereotypical Christmas story about a nuclear family – it’s characters who love one another and have built family together and found a home together – and that felt really special.

It’s also worth mentioning that the set design is absolutely stunning: giant cans of Heinz beans and a forest made of ramshackle pots and pans bring you straight into the world of the play. Furthermore, the costume design was brilliant, particularly the bear costumes, which felt really transportive.

Every performance of The Forest of Forgotten Discos is completely accessible, with sign language integrated into the actor’s performances. It was really cool to see it as a completely natural part of the show and a definite highlight.

The Forest of Forgotten Discos is a really enjoyable show. It’s clever, funny and full of energy – and any show that involves a disco is worth a watch!

© Megan Holland 2018

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