EGG AND SPOON
by Marcello Chiarenza and Patrick Lynch.
Unicorn Theatre (Clore Theatre) 147 Tooley Street SE1 2HZ To 20 December 2009.
Runs 45min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7645 0560.
Review: Timothy Ramsden.
Seasonal adjustments and the joy of being alive.
It’s not only the police who’re getting younger; it’s theatre audiences too. Lyngo Theatre’s piece is far from alone in its 1-3 age range. Neither the formalities of theatre nor a progressive story are appropriate for its near-infant audiences, who sit on a circle of cushions with their accompanying adults.
In itself it provides social interaction, safe with a parent or relative but engaging cooperatively with others. Even in a nursery performance, there’s the gain of being guided through individual participation in a group experience.
And events don’t have to bounce along. There’s interest enough in a single state of being. Objects hold a fascination, and as the piece proceeds through the seasons, taking day and night into account, there are plenty of opportunities to experience birds, flowers, butterflies, grass and puddles formed by mirrors.
Proceeding gently (there’s never a blackout) audience members have the chance to blow autumnal leaves away, make rain sounds and birdsong, fly wire-attached feather butterflies and plant grass. Some may hardly have experienced the turning of the seasons, and the changes will still fascinate experienced 3-year olds.
Patrick Lynch guides audience members; even his few comments aimed at adults don’t exclude the young, but seek a complicity, binding everyone into involvement as the performers (Airlie Scott also contributing atmospheric violin music) co-create the wide world in their circle.
While the petals, grass and ingenious little tubes creating birdsong focus attention, most important is the company’s ability to work at a pace and with a simple directness that gains genuine responses and involvement from very young people; there’s none of that terrible incomprehension and boredom which too often comes from ill-thought through audience participation – the very young are never taken for granted.
Egg and Spoon resonates with its audiences because it views the world as the fascinating series of phenomena it appears in early years. There’s nothing to frighten, everything to enjoy, right up to the final moment when (without a spoon in sight) the egg hatches and a new chick emerges to greet the audience, and the world.
Percy: Patrick Lynch.
April: Airlie Scott.
Director/Designer: Marcello Chiarenza.
Music: Carlo ‘Cialdi’ Capelli