Theatre-rites, The Thought That Counts

Review in Issue 18-1 | Spring 2006

This is truly a child’s world. From next to nothing bursts everything It is five white balls – ranging from the size of a golf ball to that of a golf Volkswagen – that launch this journey. Rolling their way through the piece, they gather up the pace, colour, tricks and treats that spread smiles and charm into Sue Buckmaster’s gem of a production. ‘What were you like as a child?’ is the question the actors ask each other. As each performer narrates their story, the balloons bounce, roll and convulse with the different rhythms of childhood. This is the way they are getting to know each other. And this is the way that the young audience is getting to know them – as adults, talking about their childhood. No risk of wayward straying into the cringe-worthy adult-as-child acting territory here. Bursting into beauty and laughter, these balloons are the receptacles of their bearers’ stories. Like stories, they can become anything at any time. One moment, the performers are toying with their balloons, the next they are trapped inside them, their projected faces appearing on the outside. Rough and ready action and interaction meet sleekly prepared craft. From nowhere, our solar system whirls into sight, balloons spinning around a central ball that swiftly becomes the moon. A lucid stream of consciousness builds the performance, step-by-step. It makes perfect sense but blink and you will lose it, crafted as it is for a child’s astute attention to detail and capacity for imaginative absorption. Last of all comes a massive balloon that the performers bounce around the little heads of the audience: cue screaming. Great fun.

‘It’s magical,’ murmurs a little chap behind me. It is. It is also beautiful, innovative and the best of children’s theatre around.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Dec 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-1
p. 25