South Bank Centre (Purcell Room) To 21 April.
Wed-Sat; Mon 12pm & 3pm.
TICKETS: 0844 847 9910.
then Tour to 1 June 2014.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 14 April.
No throwaway lines in ecologically inventive show.
It had to be good, or no show would more efficiently have written its epitaph in its title. Still, people who have seen Theatre-Rites would know how minimal the risk would be with this piece for 5+, originally developed with Warwick Arts Centre. Though 75 minute is a long time for a largely wordless show to keep young audiences involved, there were hardly any points where attentions seemed to wander.
It’s the more remarkable in that the usual idea of colourful staging for young people’s work is replaced by a mountain of black binliners stuffed with detritus. It’s here scavenging creatures come across the pile’s inhabitant, initiating a series of inventive creations involving puppets and imaginative use of objects.
Of course, it has two things going for it; the young mind’s fascination with anything that is forbidden and, even better, considered disgusting and unacceptable in the adult world, plus the chance to explore and open-up things that gives scope to the child’s imagination. This heap, after all, takes to extremes the pattern that sees the expensive toy disregarded and its packaging turn into a source of invention.
To which is added here the skill of puppet-making and operation. Various animals make an appearance, and the bags themselves help in the creation. The invention flows apparently naturally – the characters seem to find the various creatures and react to them, rather than appearing clever in creating them; all are part of this recyclable, disposable world.
In sound as well as sight. Rhythmic possibilities are explored, from the percussive potential of the objects in the soft plastic sacks and, later, of harder-surfaced plastic bins themselves. Similar rhythmic ideas are explored, in tune with melodic motifs, in Jessica Danheisser’s recorded score.
Throughout, the sense of discovery and delight in what they find which absorbs the characters on stage (occasionally coming into the audience seeking some litter-picking assistance) transfers to the young spectators.
Theatre-Rites continues to plough its furrow in the imaginative possibilities of objects in the environment among which young people live. What should we think of their work so far? Anything but rubbish.
Performers: Charlotte Dubery, Mohsen Nouri, Simon Palmer, Edward Wren.
Director: Sue Buckmaster.
Lighting: William Reynolds.
Composer: Jessica Dannheisser.
Designer: Lise Marker.
Puppets: Yvonne Stone, Sue Buckmaster.
23-24 Apr 4.30pm Mat Thu 1.30pm Pegasus Theatre Oxford 01865 812150 www.pegasustheatre.org.uk
26 Apr 12pm & 3pm The Castle (Studio) Wellingborough 01933 270007 www.thecastle.org.uk
3 May 11.30am & 2.30pm Unity Theatre Liverpool 0844 873 2888 www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk
7 May 10.30am Gulbenkian Theatre Canterbury 01227 769075 www.thegulbenkian.co.uk
9-10 May Fri 10am (Relaxed Performance) & 1pm; Sat 11.30am & 3pm The Egg Bath 01225 448844 www.theatreroyal.org.uk/the-egg
24-25 May 1pm & 4pm The Albany Deptford 020 8692 www.thealbany.org.uk
27-28 May Curve Leicester 0116 242 3595 www.curveonline.co.uk
30 May 1pm Z Arts Manchester 0161 232 6089 www.z-arts.org
1 June 11.30am The Boo Rossendale 01706 220241 www.horseandbamboo.org