‘Bear With Me’ was cuddly.
There’s a saying that you should never work with children and animals.
Bear with Me breaks both of those rules. Well, kind of.
Brisbane duo Tyrone and Leslie (AKA David Megarrity and Samuel Vincent) have, for the past 10 years, been the ukulele-playing pied pipers leading preschoolers and their teddy bears into a world of musical fun. It’s a celebration of the friendship and comfort children find in the simple embrace of their favourite toy.
The success of the formula is that it meets children and their cuddly toys right at their level – literally. The children sit on the floor with their favourite stuffed animal primed for action. As soon as Tyrone calls Ready, Teddy, Go the children are up on their feet and dancing.
There is so much room for audience participation. Children are encouraged to enjoy the music and dance in whatever way they want. But Mums and Dads are invited to join the party and follow along with lyrics helpfully included in Nathan Sibthorpe’s exceptional video design.
Each child is given a cushion to sit on and a large cardboard box. As every parent knows, there is no object as versatile as the humble box and in this show, it becomes everything from a stage to a teddy bed.
Technical design by Freddy Komp and sound engineered by James Clark ensures this is not just a Teddy Bear’s Picnic but a true theatrical performance.
At just 40 minutes, ‘Bear With Me’ doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s short, sharp and beary, beary good.
If the audience at Metro Arts this week is anything to go by, there’s no reason Tyrone and Leslie can’t be still leading the bear band in another decade. The gentle strumming of the ukulele will be the music that converts a whole new generation of young children (and their teddy bears) to the wonderful world of theatre.
‘Bear With Me’ performs until Saturday, 10 December 2022. For tickets, visit Metro Arts website.