Aliens Love Underpants at The Rose Theatre, Kingston review

Aliens Love Underpants

Aliens Love Underpants - Credit: Archant

What could King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, Kylie Minogue and Tom Daley possibly have in common? The answer is that their underpants all took centre stage in this delightful, ‘pantstastic’ production of children’s book, Aliens Love Underpants - an irreverent tribute to those essential undergarments that’s literally out of this world.

The popular book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, which looks at how aliens came to our planet with the sole aim of making off with our underpants, received lavish attention at the Rose Theatre this month, in Director, Adam Bampton-Smith’s lively adaptation.

The story of the cheeky kicker-nicking creatures is extended with the addition of a magical pants shop where Cheryl Felgate’s beleaguered Mum comes to purchase replacement pants, which range from shiny gold pairs to pretty pink ones and even some rather fetching orange pants with eight leg-holes for any passing octopi.

The shop is run by a charmingly efficient Charlotte Cooper, who takes her role very seriously - both as a shop assistant and an undercover alien detection agent. The two women are joined on stage by Derek Elwood, playing the largest alien with a particularly pleasing bass voice, and Harrison Spiers, who plays the unfortunate boy, Timmy, whose pants are repeatedly purloined.

By accident, Timmy is scooped up by accident in the aliens’ spaceship and transported to their planet, where he is taken to worship at the sacred collection of famous people’s pants (so that’s where Henry, Elizabeth, Kylie and Tom come into it). He even gets the chance to translate the mystic washing symbols and be proclaimed King of the Aliens, although the triangle symbol proves too much even for him to decode.

The aliens themselves tend to steal the show, as would be expected, with Matt Hutchinson’s fantastic creations ranging from glove puppets to full-scale models with movable eyes and strangely huggable bodies. They are manipulated by three of the main actors, who alternate between speaking gibberish and frequently breaking into song, making the whole play zing with laughter and fun.

Aliens Love Underpants was an ideal choice for the summer holidays and a great way to introduce children to live theatre. My sons and I left the theatre singing songs about pants under our breath. Now, that doesn’t happen every day.