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REVIEW - TEN IN THE BED | Z-ARTS MANCHESTER | 01/06/2024


Ten In The Bed artwork

All About Theatre Four Star Review

A Delightful and Thought-Provoking Journey with "Ten in the Bed"


"Ten in the Bed" is an imaginative and moving production by Half Moon, the UK’s leading small-scale young people’s venue and touring company. This play, penned by award-winning teenage fiction writer Steve Tasane, explores the complex themes of the child refugee experience through a blend of humour, imagination, and empathy. Developed as part of Half Moon's 2021 "Narrative of Empathy and Resilience" initiative, this production is aimed at children aged 3-8, though its poignant message resonates with audiences of all ages.


Ten in The Bed production photo

The narrative centres around Naz and Iggy, two refugee children residing in a detention centre. Their bed becomes a magical vehicle for their imaginations, transforming into a boat, a slice of toast, and other whimsical constructs. Through their playful adventures, they escape the harsh realities of their past and present, inventing stories involving pirates, sharks, and surprising fishing expeditions.

As they navigate these imaginative journeys, Naz and Iggy address profound themes of fear, belonging, and inclusion. The recurring refrain "if we all move over, there’s enough room for everyone" underscores a significant message of tolerance and acceptance. The boys' playful interactions and vivid descriptions of their dream adventures—like tasting imaginary cakes and sweets—contrast with their palpable sense of deprivation and loss.

Their imaginary play ranges from lighthearted pillow fights to more serious scenarios, such as evading imaginary sharks, reflecting their real-life fears and experiences as refugees. The boys' discussions about who gets to stay in the bed and who must leave mirror the difficult choices they’ve faced in their journeys. The presence of pillows representing their absent friends serves as a reminder of the connections they've made and the people they’ve lost.

Through their adventures, the boys reveal snippets of their past, weaving their personal histories into the fabric of their play. This blend of imagination and reality not only entertains but also provides a deeper understanding of the refugee experience, highlighting the resilience and strength of these young characters.


Ten in The Bed production photo

Sorcha Corcoran’s set design is both simple and ingenious, using everyday objects like mattresses and pillows to create a versatile and engaging environment. This approach effectively mirrors the transient nature of the boys' circumstances while offering plenty of room for imaginative play. The addition of houses, pirate swords and hats, crafted from recycled cardboard adds a delightful, eco-friendly charm to the set.

Emily Walls’ lighting design skillfully transitions to match the shifting moods of the narrative, enhancing the emotional impact of each scene. I was particularly enchanted by the way the cardboard houses illuminated when darkness fell, signaling the boys' bedtime and adding a magical touch to the setting. Mark Newnham’s musical accompaniment, characterized by its gentle, folksy melodies, harmonizes effortlessly with the story's themes. However, while the "Ten in the Bed" song adds to the overall experience, a smoother integration into the play could enhance its impact further.


Ten in The Bed production photo

Hari Kang as Naz and Hayden Mampasi as Iggy deliver outstanding performances, bringing a vibrant energy and depth to their roles. Their chemistry is palpable, and their portrayal of the characters’ playful and serious sides is both captivating and moving. Under Chris Elwell’s adept direction, the actors excel in bringing the story to life, making the audience feel deeply connected to the characters and their journey.


Ten in The Bed production photo

"Ten in the Bed" is a captivating production that celebrates the power of imagination and the resilience of the human spirit. The clever set design, evocative lighting, and complementary musical score create an immersive experience that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. While the integration of the titular song could be smoother, the overall impact of the production is profound and engaging.

This enchanting show is a must-see for families, offering a delightful blend of humour, empathy, and imaginative storytelling. "Ten in the Bed" delivers a meaningful and enjoyable experience that underscores the importance of inclusion, fosters hope, and showcases the limitless potential of imaginative play.


For more information on "Ten in the Bed" and Halfmoon Theatre, including details on the show's tour locations, please click the button below.




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Photo Credit - Stephen Beeny



*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review




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