Reviews for THE SPACEMAN
TIMEOUT Children Critics' Choice
"A hugely imaginative piece of theatre that changes the way kids think" - The Metro
"A must for Budding Astronauts" - The Evening Standard
In Cologne, August 2007
"Science can work in theatre - that was prooved before...
Now there is a play for children. But Mark Down and Nick Barnes play is also great fun for adults, because of it's eye-twinkling attitude. C.Fillers discovered this jewel in England and brought it to Ömmes and Oimel. Charles Ripley is Professor Blastoff ...
T he magical thing about this story is the way it is told. Ripley acts with full energy and knows how to sell a joke. Not only the text is very charming, but also the little illustrations, that he draws while telling the story, work in a magical way. You don't ask whether this is story-telling or theatre. Gestures join together with images and words to one strong stream of story-telling. What you see there, is a new way of theatre. The fact that love for details such as music and light in combination with Ripleys inspired performance enrich the whole show, goes without saying.
But the main reason for the great success might be the ironic way of
presenting popular clichés of love, science and science fiction,
that lets the audience be part of the show all the time. Superb.
THE METRO, Oct 2003
DIGYORKSHIRE.COM, June 2006
I needn’t have worried; the show was absolutely delightful. Very simply done, the humour verging on Monty Python, which did not go unnoticed by my son, and he was equally tickled by the very young children’s spontaneous outbursts that peppered the show throughout.
The show was staged as a lecture and Mark Down, in
role as the Professor, proceeded to take the audience through both a fantastical
adventure of a small boy believing in aliens, as well as weaving in scientific
facts. This was all depicted through story and chalking on a number of small
black boards. Simple and effective, the comic story shone through and, as
Billy said, ‘I liked the way that he made the black board tell the story
and the way that the rocket flew out of it, how he flipped them around and
his funny conversation with his chalk … oh and I liked my pizza’.
A great show, with a wide humour base that tickled adults as well as the children – of all ages. I particularly liked the fact that it started at 6.30, which meant that it wasn’t a late night, either. Julia Calver ***
Dine Direct, June 2006
Blast off in search of aliens! Learn how to operate the controls of a jungle space rocket and find out what happens when you press the "fun" button in this cosmic family show.
Do you believe in Space Monsters? Bud does. But no one else believes in them, not even his Mum and Dad, or his best friend Tommy, not even his girlfriend Jane. Bud wants to become a spaceman, so he can fly into space and prove Space Monsters exist. But how do you become a spaceman? And where do you look for Space Monsters? And if you find a Space Monster, what will it be like?
This performance is very much like an hour of “Jackanory” with the story excellently being told by Mark Down from the Blind Summit Theatre Company who appeared on stage dressed in a white laboratory coat as the professor. Armed with several blackboards about two feet square he told the tale of Bud using various illustrations about both the story and also space travel in general. At the same time he was extremely amusing and had the youngsters in fits of laughter.
This is Blind Summit's first show specifically for children. Developed at BAC, it has been delighting audiences in London and the UK for over a year. It was the first children's show to be invited to be part of This Way Up and was a hit of Take Off 2004. On the strength of this, I sincerely hope that they produce more shows for youngsters as the audience on the first evening when I attended were spellbound and gave Mark well deserved lengthy applause at the end of the fifty five minutes that the show runs for. John Burland
Both Blind Summit theatre company and the Battersea Arts Centre-inspired touring package This Way Up have previously produced work for adult audiences. But the former's contribution to the latter's 2004 programme is this one-man lecture-demonstration storytelling piece. Let me explain.
Mark Down's white-coated scientist offers a space story, using the tried and trusted method of chalk and talk, drawing characters, spheres and other outlines on a series of boards, with a couple of sticks of talking chalk named Harry and Betty. OK, there's nothing magic Down does both their voices.
Art meets Science as his drawings take us through the story of an alien who first appears fuzzily on an old TV then meets our young hero who in a way only a child's imagination could conceive - becomes an instant rocket-propelled space traveller.
Science fiction, with wittily-produced drawings (a space-map turning into our alien, a rocket-bearing blackboard whooshing round the stage in Down's hands), is interspersed with scientific facts about space, the Big Bang and galaxies. There's a reminder, too, of how many chocolate bars bear heavenly-body names and a rather sudden ending.
The only limitation lies in the show's science elements being presented through factual presentation, rather than exploration of scientific methods of enquiry.
Down has a fine manner, brisk, unpatronising but friendly. He responds to comments from the audience, rather than ignoring them, bringing them calmly round to the path of his story.
A Saturday morning audience on a university-campus theatre may not be
typical, but the attention of the young people listening seemed complete,
and a good number enthusiastically took up the offer of helping with space
drawings in the foyer afterwards. Good signs both.
The Guardian, Family, 5
things to do at Half Term, June 2006
Yorkshire Evening Post - 2 JUNE 2006