Kidsamonium, Assembly @ St George’s West
Star rating: *****
Warning: Kidsamonium can seriously strain your smile muscles. Tom Bancroft’s fantasia aimed at introducing children between six and 14 to jazz picked up the Innovation prize at the recent BBC Jazz Awards, and it could convert non-believers of any age.
Bancroft emerges in Elvis regalia – and hilarious wigalia – as, of course, The King. As he marshals his sextet through swing, blues and folk-jazz and gets everyone playing kazoos, banging percussion instruments and shouting at the invading chicken gang, he assumes various personalities. Sometimes he’s King Bossy, other times he’s just King Nuts, but he has a real talent for involving people.
There are elements of pantomime: when guitarist Billy “the Aviator” Jenkins goes off in a huff because he discovers he can’t fly, the band has no way of playing chords. So different lengths and colours of tubing are distributed and volunteers are invited on stage to conduct the audience by pointing at three different sets of tubes. Result? Harmony is taught, if not necessarily maintained. The whole thing is great fun, and if Harry Potter re-introduced children to reading, then Bancroft goes one better: he even convinces them that putting stuff back is hip.
YES BABY YES!!!
OBSERVER eat your heart out!!