IN A PICKLE
by Tim Webb
Oily Cart Tour to 2 February 2013.
Run s 1hr 5min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 30 December at Unicorn Theatre (Clore auditorium) London.
Baa without humbug.
This show is for 2-5 year olds, which is mature by Oily Cart standards. The company specialises in work for the very young, and children with special needs, and understands how very young audiences perceive performance, not as artificial but as part of the discovery and experiment that is life. So it starts in full light in a friendly space, where parents and other audience members are in control. A shepherdess, Barbara, emerges, along with actors as sheep. They offer a chance to join their world by dressing-up with sheep-ears or rural hats.
And as the make-believe world and its vocalised sounds becomes more apparent, audiences are led into an auditorium with seating laid out at an appropriate height, easy to sit-on (no tricky tip-up theatre seats) and gathered communally around a strip of field. Four small segments of audience are attended by one of the four actors, engaging in a friendly way in play, until Barbara starts organising things.
It’s here the first evidence comes as to why this show started out in summer 2012 at Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. For we have come, by a familiar, enjoyable, friendly way to the second part of A Winter’s Tale. Where, after a lot of earlier trouble and suffering, there’s been a 16-year gap and things begin to mend at something of a Whitsun Festival. What has been lost begins to be found, and, in William Shakespeare’s own magical moment, a statue turns out to be alive. The gap cannot be closed – the lost wife is 16 years older – but the wound can begin to heal.
Despite the name Leontes, and reference to his unaccountable jealousy (no more unaccountable, though, than many negative moods can seem to childhood experience), there’s no need to know anything of the story. Maybe, of course, in years to come, there’ll be moments of recognition when watching the play, or a more general sense of familiarity.
What’s important is, the piece works in its own right, taking the positive from Winter’s Tale and making it an occasion where nature is life-affirming, and fun.
Director: Tim Webb.
cast and full credits not available