Monkeying around

Andrea and David Duffy on why their new local theatre company is going bananas with a new play in Walthamstow

Five Little Christmas Monkeys hits Centre17 this month

Five Little Christmas Monkeys hits CentrE17 this month

It’s such an exciting time in Walthamstow for the arts right now and we can’t wait to be part of it.

Together we have formed Baby Panda, a new local theatre company, and our riotous show Five Little Christmas Monkeys is coming to CentrE17 this month.

Based on the universally popular children’s song Five Little Monkeys (“five little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head”), the show is a magical Christmas mix of music, puppets and clowning.

It is set on Christmas Eve when zookeeper Sue is having her first day at the counting zoo. She has to get Little Monkey to bed. It’s on her list. But Little Monkey has other ideas and the bedtime routine goes out of the window as magical monkeys appear from everywhere and anywhere in Little Monkey’s bedroom.

Funky monkeys, ballet teachers and the Monkey in the Moon himself take Sue on a whirlwind counting journey. And you’ll never look at a teapot in the same way again! Bright, bold and colourful puppets engage young audiences, while household objects unexpectedly transform into a series of stern doctors, warning: “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

We created the smash hit Dogs Don’t Do Ballet for Little Angel Theatre in 2012, which, so far, has run for more than 600 performances nationwide. United by our love of comedy, music, clowning and silliness, the Five Little Monkeys song was only a starting point for us to create a flight of fancy, exploring how numbers are all around us. With a backdrop of rapping, R&B, classical ballet, and dub reggae, Five Little Christmas Monkeys is a mathematical musical riot.

Monkeys is a truly local production. We have lived in Walthamstow for years and we made this show with the support of Stoneydown Park Primary School, where our daughter goes to school. Scenery was built at Blackhorse Workshop, while rehearsals were in Higham Hill Hub and Walthamstow Academy. The fantastic original music was created by E17 jazz musician Rex Horan and our designer and puppet-maker, Frances Barry, is a fellow East London resident.

Five Little Christmas Monkeys is on at CentrE17 between Saturday 9th and Sunday 17th December. For more information and to buy tickets: