Review: Family Games Night

8 years ago
Aidan Johnson

There’s something enjoyable about family entertainment. It’s wholesome, and an enjoyable experience for those involved. Board games, interpretive dance, music and overly enthusiastic acting and gymnastics make this event quite a show. An important note to make is that it is very much geared towards families with young children, between the ages of probably 5 through until 12, depending on how mature the child is. Still, it was a bit of fun, and worth going along to.

Arriving at the venue, the fun and games started before the show had even commenced, with a couple of board games strategically placed around the waiting room. Connect-Four, Mastermind, Twister, even Mousetrap were set up, ready to play. Refreshments were also available. The atmosphere was very friendly, and quite warm to boot, considering the cold weather on the day. Oh Melbourne.

When we actually entered, the stage was a giant sized board with a layout similar to Monopoly, and the audience were seated around it. We were divided into four sections – one for each corner – and assigned a team: blue, red yellow and green. There were 2 performers for every team, wearing brightly coloured jumpsuits. The performers were high-energy and enthusiastic, which is more than I would be able to sum up.

The basic game mechanic was this: the performers would roll one of the enormous, fluffy dice, and then they would move along the number of spaces until they landed on an activity. The activities were either the names of games for families/children, “opportunity chests”, or actions such as “miss a go” or “go back three spaces”. The aim of the game was for one team to win. Unlike in some performances, where the winner is predetermined, this particular show relied on luck, so each team had an equal chance at winning.

Whilst each of the activities had no impact on the movement of the pieces on the board, there were three types of games: interpretive dance performance based around the board game in question, such as Connect 4 or Mousetrap; a light performance based on the game, such as with Operation or The Game Of Life; or an audience participation game, such as Charades or Pictionary. Each type was enjoyable and fun, but the audience participation matches earned the most laughs and cheers from the audience, especially the younger members.

There were a few issues with the show: a lot of the audience members were definitely over the target age of about 10, which meant that some teams had advantages. This may be a case of reading the description before you buy tickets, but if you’re going, it’d be best to bring along a child or two (preferably your own). On top of that, the audience felt a little small in the big room – there’s only so much enthusiasm you can generate when there are only about twenty audience members to hype up. Finally, the light and sound felt a little off: at times the music was jarringly loud, and the strobe lighting in one performance seemed unnecessary (nothing less fun than finding out you have epilepsy during a family games night). Still, despite these issues, the show itself was still very enjoyable.

Family Games Night was an enjoyable performance. Filled with lights, sound, and boundlessly energetic performers, it was very much geared towards young families. The show included a good mixture of performance and audience participation, and the audience members (the younger members at least) seemed quite excited by each team’s antics, especially their own. The atmosphere of the place was enjoyable, and the care taken to entertain the audience before and after the show was a very pleasant touch. Aside from a few minor issues, such as crowd size and overly loud music, it made a good few hours of entertainment.

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