Review: The University of Wonder and Imagination, Cahoots NI

Cahoots NI’s The University of Wonder and Imagination tackles the challenges of interactive family shows with gusto and proves immense fun

“In imagination we trust, in wonder we must”

Created and directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney and co-written with Hugh W Brown, The University of Wonder and Imagination is a wonderful and wondrous addition to the programme for the Belfast International Arts Festival. An interactive family show hosted on Zoom limited to just six families at a time, the show acts as an open day for this ever-so-special university where you get to decide where you go and who you see, but magic decides what will happen.  

On our trip through the university, we met noted mathemagician Professor Carmo, whose array of card tricks and number games had me going from ‘hey I think I know how he did that’ to full-on ‘no seriously, how did he do that?!’. You really feel the benefit of the small group size here so that everyone gets at least one chance to to be a part of the magic.

Space Professor Lola Hurst has a much mellower vibe about her room as we take a trip through the solar system and debate the logic of time travel. And last but by no means least on our trip, Professor Wilbert Hoffman helps us explore the magic of portraitology which has to be seen to be believed, so definitely get your imagination fired up if you happen to meet him too.

The overall feel is one of just pure fun and escapism, an entertaining hour which makes great use of Zoom technology to create a special atmosphere. And credit to the performers – Hugh W Brown, Sean Kearns, Caolan McBride, Philippa O’Hara and Lata Sharma – all of whom did a marvellous job in keeping the whole trip inclusive and engaging this big kid just as much as the genuine little ones.

Running time: c 1 hour
Photos: Melissa Gordon
The University Of Wonder And Imagination is part of the Belfast International Arts Festival on various days and times; find their schedule here

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