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Polka Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Wimbledon
Polka Theatre, 2021
Photo by Hufton+Crow
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Time Out says

This exceptional young person’s theatre has earned its place in generations of young hearts since it launched in 1979. The Wimbledon theatre stages in-house productions, workshops and storytelling sessions for families and schools – look out for literature events featuring children’s authors such as Jacqueline Wilson. An £8.5m revamp – which handily coincided with the coronavirus pandemic – has vastly upgraded it, with many more facilities including a sensory play area added when it reopened in 2021.

Details

Address:
240 The Broadway
London
SW19 1SB
Transport:
Tube: South Wimbledon
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What’s on

The Paper Dolls

  • Children's

A returning version of a stage adaptation of Julia Donaldson's 'The Paper Dolls', about a little girl who cuts out a string of paper dolls and takes them on an adventure. London's premiere puppet theatre bring it beautifully to life. Ages 3-7.

‘The Pirate, the Princess and the Platypus’ review

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Children's

This breezily silly new show for ages five-plus is at heart a fairly standard plea to youngsters to be themselves etc that follows Alex Stedman’s well-behaved homebody Pirate and Teegan Hurley’s adventure-craving Princess as – long story short – they swap places and discover that it’s okay to be a little of everything. What hugely lifts writer-directors Daniel Clarkson and Richard Hurst’s show is the largely inexplicable presence of Platypus. Played by Australian Josephine Starte, it’s a wise-cracking monotreme who none of the other characters either a) understand or b) know what it is. Tagging along on the Pirate’s adventure, her presence brings a sort of offbeat weird quality to proceedings. From a recurring sight gag about her being attacked by an octopus to the other characters' constant suggestions as to what she might be (‘hairy duck’ and ‘fluff puffin’ were two of my favourites), she adds a delicious random quality to proceedings. I don’t think she’s quite enough to make the play a classic: the show essentially feels not dissimilar in tone to a family pantomime with a comedian in the cast, and the mix of wholesome ‘be yourself’ messaging and the sharper, stranger platypus-derived gags doesn’t always feel particularly coherent. There is some fun business with the Princess and the Pirate’s batshit parents (the Princess’s is literally a frog), but the show as a whole leans heavily on the Platypus to keep things ticking over. Still, it’s fun and funny, and certainly if you

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