A stay at the The Topsy-Turvy Hotel will definitely be different to any other you've experienced. With only one minute to sleep in the imaginary bed in the triple-booked room and a 4am start for breakfast, it might not be the most relaxing stay, but you will have a fun time.
In this production aimed at 5- to 12- year olds, comedians Jody Kamali and Jo Neary are adept at swift costume changes into a host of amusing characters. We are welcomed by Fernando, the incompetent and clumsy hotel manager, and help him hire a new cleaner, the obsessive Peggy Pillow – recruited through innovative air mail messages on paper planes, and complementing existing staff member Chef Jeff. It transpires that the hotel is under threat from an unscrupulous property developer, the big-bellied Roger Bungalow, aided by his part-time assistant and wannabe artist Brenda Bagshott. But fear not, it all comes to a satisfactory conclusion with the audience’s help.
The physical comedy and slapstick are nicely done, featuring a wobbly hotel trolley, an unfoldable duvet cover, and a hotel desk that serves to obscure two characters from each other to amusing effect.
The story isn't the most inspired; however, the comedians work hard and are endearing in their efforts. Some of the jokes appeared to fall a little flat, perhaps because of the large age range of children at which the show is aimed, but there were hoots of laughter from the pre-teens sitting next to me and my five-year-old pronounced it ‘really good’.
The two performers complemented each other and worked well together. Gentle audience participation is an important part of the show, with children able to make suggestions and see them used by the on-stage team. A high point for all ages was being able to throw balls at onto the stage at the baddies, both in real time and slow motion.
All in all, I would recommend the The Topsy-Turvy Hotel for an amusing and engaging hour aimed at the younger crowd.