Review: Brave Bold Drama’s ‘Alf the Highwayman’, by Amelie Foster

Amelie managed to get into catch ‘Alf the Highwayman’ at The Boat Shed before the end of the theatre season and here’s what she thought of it..

On a wet Friday afternoon at the start of the school holidays, we headed to Exeter Quay where even the ducks were sheltering from the hideous horizontal rain.  Luckily we weren’t there to feed the ducks. Myself, the children, some friends and their children were there for theatre.

pic of the boat shed by amelie foster for exploring exeter

Our favourite indie theatre venue The Bike Shed has a sister, she’s called The Boat Shed and she’s a beauty. Set in the fantastic Piazza Terracina, The Boat Shed is a pop up in a delicious, delicate old building. She boasts a bar, ice cream,  barbecues and ping pong set against the Quay as a backdrop.

The Boat Shed is currently a pop up – I think Exeter would definitely benefit from her sticking around.

We visited to see a production by Brave Bold Drama, a theatre company hailing from Bristol . The play is ‘Alf the Highwayman’, which won both Best Children’s Show at the Shaftesbury Fringe 2016 and Best Kids show at the Swindon Fringe 2017, we had high expectations.

Pic used with permission from Brave Bold Drama.

We heard the tale of Alf and his robbing ways and met the many folks he steals from day to day. The story is told with incredibly clever props and beautiful catchy tunes, my children were guffawing as were we. The humour is accessible to all and I love it a trillion times more than the Cbeebies pantos I’ve endured since motherhood . It is a beautifully written and performed piece of children’s theatre and the unfussy venue provided the perfect setting.

The characters are so believable and endearing, wonderful accents and expressions transport you into Alf’s world. With a spattering of very eager and willing audience participation, the play swings from happy joyful times to sad thought provoking scenes. Like all good children tales Alf comes good, his conscious is pricked and Alf sees the error of his ways  realising “it’s my way or the highway” isn’t going to get him many friends, so he returns his stolen wears to his victims. It is a great moral tale with humility and hilarity and it give me great warm fuzzy feeling .

Pic used with permission from Brave Bold Drama.

The play engaged the children and kept them seated, a sure sign of its success and its ability to capture their imaginations.

The Boat Shed and its simple beauty provided the perfect setting and we will return to soak up its quirks, eat ice cream and hopefully a few cocktails and of course some great theatre to help soothe the school holidays stress away.

Read about The Boat Shed.

Check out what’s going on at the Boat Shed

For further productions from Brave Bold Drama head here.

Also, have a look at our theatre section for more reviews and arts news.

Plus see August’s Exeter Life for Stephanie’s feature on The Boat Shed.


About the author: Hailing from Brighton originally, Amelie Foster grew up in Exeter and embraces the city life especially it’s indie culture. Amelie worked as a youth worker and currently runs a help group for Mums who have suffered PND, she is colourful, creative, compassionate and is very active in the local community.



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