Directed by Nina Donkin, Family Friendly Productions, Globe Theatre Reviewed by David Collins, for the Tribune, 2nd June, 2011
"When I was younger, the random numbers slotted into a board near the pulpit at church that denoted which hymns would be sung during the service always fascinated me. In Psalty and the Take-Your-Time Machine, a group of children - the Kids Praise Kids, to be precise - learn first-hand the origin of many of those songs. Sunday School looks set to be pretty hum-drum until Psalty turns up. He's a talking/singing hymn book and has built a "take-your-time" machine, to give the kids more time to finish an assignment. However, when the on-switch is thrown, this engineering marvel becomes a true chrono-adventuring miracle.
You see, Psalty has inadvertently built an actual time machine that throws them deep into the past. Yet, despite having to work their way back to the present, it allows them to see with their own eyes how their faith was celebrated in song throughout history.
The child and adult wrangling this production required from 15 year old director Nina Donkin must have had a high degree of difficulty. She does good work here, especially in places where the ensemble is strongest: the scene in King Solomon's temple; the origins of Amazing Grace from the mouth of John Newton himself; or the fast-paced stylings during a spiritual medley that even had this reviewer's secular foot tapping.
The Kids Praise Kids generally did well - although the voices and vocals were occasionally a little hard to hear. John Aldersley did a bang-up job as Psalty, with an energetic performance that wouldn't stray too far from something like the Scarecrow or Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. Special mention should also be given to perhaps the most adorable trio of sheep I have ever seen dance a jig on the stage.
There is a danger in singing a hymn enough times it becomes rote and boring. Psalty is a show - part worship, but mostly history lesson - that makes a decent go at turning that praise into something relevant."
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