Theatre review - Tadpoles, M6 Theatre, The Lowry Studio

Photo by Lewis Wileman

Photo by Lewis Wileman - Credit: Archant

Rob Gemmell has fun with the family at the Lowry Studio

I’d like to conduct this review, if I may, slightly informally. For this is the first review I have written where I have had some help. My co-reviewer, in this instance, was none other than my 4-year-old son, Douglas.

The show itself is predominantly aimed at children aged 5 plus, but the theatre company, M6 Theatre, informed us that it would be suitable for my son and that is one of two things that fascinated me about the company. The first being their knowledge of their audience and the second is the fact that the company have been going longer than I have been born. It was 1977 when they were first founded, 2 years before I was even a part of this world. It is incredible to think that a theatre company have been going for so long, but on viewing their latest offering, it is not surprising.

The audience for M6 Theatre’s latest show, ‘Tadpoles’ is aimed, as mentioned before, at five-year-olds and upwards. In order to perform a show to generate interest, hold attention and entertain is not an easy task, but the cast and crew did it almost effortlessly. I say, “almost effortlessly” as there was so much vitality in the performance, I was breathless keeping up.

Captain Conker and Captain Clever are a superhero duo tasked to save the world, only they haven’t been saving the world recently, because they argue too much. During one assignment they receive a call from mission control to once again inform them that they have failed their mission and they are giving an ultimatum – learn to work together as a team or face the consequences. The consequences in this case are for the pair to partake in ‘minor missions’ and to have their precious capes taken from them. The action then takes us to a scaffolding site which is due to be knocked down. Ignoring the dangers around them, the pair enjoy lunch and then come up with a plan to learn how to work together and in doing so, save the world. But things are still very fraught between them and the young audience are taught about sharing, lying and understanding. When the duo discovers some tadpoles in a tyre on the site, they decide to patch up their differences to try and save them before the scaffolding is knocked down.

The show ticked many essential boxes for the young audience members. It was centred around a theme that many young, and even some thirty-six year olds, can relate to – superheroes. It was fast paced, bright, colourful and expertly acted out. All the topics in the show had meaning and the idea was for the children to take something away with them, which my own son did and the topics were all were depicted in a fun and enjoyable way.

Emily Spowage played Captain Conker and Luke Walker played Captain Clever and the two were just fantastic. They worked off each other really well and displayed so much energy and finesse allowing the educational purposes of the story to be enjoyable and also funny. Sue Johnston of ‘The Royle Family’ fame was present in sound and not vision as the voice of mission control. Gilly Baskeyfield took on directorial and co-writing duties to put on this methodically entertaining piece which was thoroughly enjoyed by the young crowd, my co-reviewer included. To take such a simple plot, but to make it so meaningful and heart-warming takes a lot of talent and ability and it is obvious that M6 theatre have plenty of both.

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The whole experience was magical and inspiring as demonstrated by my son who spent much of the rest of the day being a superhero and telling me all about tadpoles, among other things, which achieves exactly what it was set out to do. Credit must also go to both actors who greeted the boys and girls after the show with many believing they were actual superheroes and, in certain eyes, they are.

For more information regarding M6 Theatre and for the full tour dates for “Tadpoles” please visit the website -