Review: GATES BRILLIANT BANDS AND DOODLE LIVE TOUR

…with Liz Pichon at Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen. Sunday 15th October 2017.

Quite an unusual way to spend a Sunday afternoon, in a theatre with an author and a band based on the fictional band she made up for her books. Liz Pichon has written, and illustrated/doodled, a series of books based on a character called Tom Gates who is a school boy. Tom Gates is in a band called DogZombies and his favourite band is DUDE3, who are joining us for the afternoon apparently.

Along I went, with my 7 year old avid reader who had managed to get through Top Of The Class in 48 hours after hearing we were going. Really not sure what to expect we were excited to find that Liz herself was walking round the theatre making sure everyone had paper and a pencil ready to learn how to do her style of doodles. She even stopped for a photo with my son.

The show itself was an hour long, during which we were introduced to Liz Pichon, DUDE3, and the other characters in the book. It included a book reading from Family Friends and Furry Creatures – with the pages projected on the screen so we could read along, and see the relevant doodles. There was live music, although the musicians didn’t look quite like their doodled counterparts they were rather talented and so enjoyable to listen to. We were treated to a doodle lesson, with Liz being live streamed onto the projector screen as she doodled on a flipchart at the front of the stage. This method was also used so we could design a monster with various audience members making demands for imaginative things like “pizza feet” and “spaghetti arms”. We were also allowed to ask questions – brave in a room full of children – but they asked some sensible questions like who she read as a child – Roald Dahl, and how she got into writing books.

Afterwards we were invited row by row to show Liz our doodles and get our copies of books, which were on sale at the front of the theatre, signed. My son was happy sitting doodling for some of our 75 minute wait but declared she was well worth it! On the way home he changed the lyrics of the School Dinner Blues song from “we want chips” to “we want books, and they have to be Liz Pichon”. Think that says it all really, tour is ongoing and well recommended.

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