by Tim Webb.
Oily Cart Tour to 25 October 2013.
Runs 45min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 20 September at Stratford Circus.
Sensory delights from tubular bells to tubular smells.
This is both a complete show and, kind-of, part of a trilogy. It has few words, most of them “Tube”. Words and their meaning are less important than sensory experiences.
Tube was originally for 3-6s, but now includes versions for young people from 6 months, varying from the general public of some two dozen or more young children with adults, which I saw at Stratford, to groups of six, either people on the autism spectrum or with multiple difficulties. For these, hanging ‘leaf chairs’, where they can sit with a carer, are provided.
Tim Webb’s company deserves congratulations for the way they’ve developed, in a funding climate not often encouraging for young people’s theatre, to the point where three distinct audiences have their own version of this experience.
Standing outside the youngster-sized module where the action happens, it was fascinating to watch the continuous work, both in and outside, by the three performers to create the range of events in Tube. Some are direct to the audience – the shaking, turning and examination of short or longer tube sections in the hands, demonstrated by the performers and then offered as opportunities for young audience members to join in.
Other experiences come from outside, as tubes appear through doors and other openings around the space. Surprises are always mediated by the performers so as to appear exciting yet unthreatening.
Standing outside the audience module the coordination of sound creations, from gently percussive tubes outside, to the longer tubes reaching in to young people.
Always, there’s awareness of the time-scale for young people to realise and respond to what’s happening, before trusting each object, however it’s arrived, and enjoying its sensory opportunities.
Tubes here are for putting things in, or watching them emerge, gentle jack-in-the-box style, for blowing through, for watching colourful balls roll out of, and generally generating a sense of vitality and variety.
Creating trust and confidence is important, as Oily Cart Director Tim Webb is well aware. So, in its sensory world of colour, sound and smells, Tube encourages young children both as individuals and part of a social organism.
Cast: George Panda, Ellie Griffiths, Griff Fender.
Director: Tim Webb.
Designer: Clair de Loon.
Composer: Max Reinhardt.