REVIEW: Hollywood Special Effects Show, Kings Theatre, Southsea

Publicity for the Hollywood Special Effects Show
Publicity for the Hollywood Special Effects Show

Crash! Bang! Wallop! They sold me the show on title alone - but I was not the target audience.

The Hollywood Special Effects Show promised a trip behind the scenes of favourite films to discover the science of movie magic.

Yes, it’s billed as a family show, and yes, the poster features an awestruck child, but I felt I wasn’t the only adult at the Kings feeling as if they were watching a show from CBeebies.

The idea is a good one - a ‘don’t try this at home’-style showcase of horror effects, pyrotechnics and gore, but the pitch is juvenile and patronising - even for kids.

The team of three presenters worked hard to make the show fun, with a bouncy host and a white-coated female ‘scientist’.

But their bumbling assistant overacted the fool to an annoyingly childish degree when all we wanted was dazzle, not daftness.

Audience participation often added to the air of panto, with one unfortunate volunteer being both shot and then given a comedy makeover.

Real-life Hollywood make-up artist David Brown, credited with work on The Dark Knight Rises, Guardians of the Galaxy and Game of Thrones, demonstrated his skills as he gave a willing schoolboy a realistically-weird third ‘Cyclops’ eye. It looked very convincing - and I’ll bet he wanted to wear it to school the next morning.

In between the stunts and ‘comedy’ there were movie facts and clips from some blockbusters, but an attempt to demonstrate how a motion-capture suit can bring computer graphics to life fell rather flat, along with a nod to Jurassic Park.

Needless to say there was a literally explosive finale, and by and large, the children in the audience enjoyed themselves.

But with a few tweaks and a less juvenile approach, the mums and dads would have had a better time too.