Polka Theatre 240 The Broadway SW19 1SB To 13 April 2013.
Tue-Sat 11am; 2pm 9, 11, 13 April.
Runs 40min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 8543 4888.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 6 April.
Theatre for the young takes flight.
Presumably the characters in Belfast-based Cahoots NI’s production for 4-7s are named as in the programme, though the piece is wordless in depicting a life-cycle among a bird family. Designer Stephen Bamford creates a warm, leafy, feathery colouring, and a sense of safety in the covered hole where the family go at the cawing sound of danger as black raven-like birds circle or dive-bomb from overhead. There’s also the open space for more peaceful times, and a short section of ladder from which each bird is helped to shoot forward when it’s time to leave the nest for an independent life.
These are quite spectacular moments as feathers emerge, blown by gusts resembling airplane engines as the next generation sets off, till only one of the original trio is left. And the sense of continuity, like the idea of a life-cycle, comes from the repeated sequences and from Garth McConaghie’s fine score, which from its opening detached chords and short rhythmic phrases captures the sense of bird movement along the ground, acquiring some harmonic clashes as the young creatures seek to find their own feet.
Later, McConaghie’s score provides more sweeping sounds, always supporting the sense of the action. It’s a major contribution to Paul Bosco McEneaney’s production. The show is finely paced, its repetitions never becoming tedious but always allowing time for the patterns of life and the significance of each event to register. Both the white birds that have flown the nest and the black one attacking it swoop over the stage and front audience rows on poles, caught in beams of Malcolm Smith’s vivid lighting.
Within this are three performances capturing bird-like movement, infusing the happy family rituals with a sense of fear when the black raiders appear. And, central to this life, the all-important egg, sign of new birth and present both at start and finish as a large white object. Enjoyable and theatrically sensuous, Egg’s success lies mainly in its ability to resonate with young audiences’ perceptions of the world about them, in the humour of the creatures and the sense of life and family.
Wilbert/Albert: Hugh Brown.
Brucie: Sophie Péault.
Bernard: Jude Quinn.
Director: Paul Bosco McEneaney.
Designer: Stephen Bamford.
Lighting: Malcolm Smith.
Sound/Composer: Garth McConaghie.
Puppet: Frankie Morgan.
Choreographer: Muime Bloomer.
Costume: Laura Nelson.
Chorister: Tom Deazley.