HOLD ON MR RABBIT
music and lyrics by Ben Glasstone.
Little Angel Theatre 14 Dagmar Passage N1 2DN To 30 January 2011.
10am & 11.30am Sun & Thu.
Runs 30min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7226 1787.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 28 December.
Good time for younger audiences as Alice stays above ground.
When they’re not presenting Alice in Wonderland, the Little Angel’s offering this short show for the seriously young, aged 2-5. And it takes young imaginations seriously, using a number of the Alice puppets and music in what is otherwise a wordless dream where images and fluidity relate closely to young audience members’ way of perceiving, and the free-flow of young minds.
Alice’s river-bank is replaced by a bedroom (bedtime’s a big thing for young children). The cards hanging around the longer show’s set are replaced by alphabet blocks lying across the stage. Here, the White Rabbit is like a dream creature, or a toy brought to life through a child’s imagination. Events have the logic of a young mind, even one as up-to-date as this Alice (as she can presumably be called), hair in pigtails, mp3 swinging from her neck.
In Rabbit, unlike Alice, there’s no story, other than what is suggested by the flow of images and objects. This visual stream includes a door through which Alice’s head looks with childlike keenness, and the key, with its song, which seemed to clog-up the longer show, here works better. The key itself (stuck at the end of a stick) becomes a fascinating object, for Alice and therefore for us, as it floats and moves rhythmically with its music.
Objects appear and disappear, as they do in young experience, and as they grab a young person’s curiosity, with an attention which can be fierce and then instantly forgotten. The fascinating dreamlike, or make-believe world, one that speaks for itself visually, provides this piece with its imaginative coherence.
Throughout, the four black-clad puppeteer/performers bring a sympathetic, unassuming calm to proceedings, with a mix of calm and concentration that giver a focus on the characters and objects they are manoeuvring. Increasing physical concentration and the sense of significance in each scene, it’s a performance style that helps direct the attention where it ought to be, and it’s carried out amid seamless teamwork in the practical manipulation and artistic purpose of Peter O’Rourke’s finely-toned production.
Cast: Jonathan Storey, Mandy Travis, Michael Fowkes, Seonaid Goody.
Director/Designer: Peter O’Rourke.
Lighting: David Duffy.