Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear, Puppet Animation Festival, SSTC, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Vision Mechanics & Jabuti Theatre
Symon Macintyre (director) Rachael Macintye (creator), Nick Paget-Tomlinson and Niroshini Thambar (composers), Simon Wilkinson (lighting design), Kim Bergsagel (set and puppet design), Molly McDonnell Finlayson (costume design), Janis Claxton and Ian Cameron (movement consultant), Gaelic translation (Aonghas MacNeacail)

Rachael Macintyre, Jusztina Hermann
Running time

‘Did we steal to Rio or fly to Mars?’ sings the exquisite voice of Patsy Seddon at the end of this utterly delightful show from Jabuti Theatre.

Based on the book written in French and English, Voyage au Clair de Lune, by Canadian writer Marie-Louise Gay, this adaptation uses puppetry, physical theatre, some amazing technical skills with boxes and text from the book but with the dual languages of English and Gaelic with translation by poet, Aonghas MacNeacail.

This bi-lingual adventure tells the story of a magical journey from bedroom to beyond of Rosie, Toby Toby, a cat and a mouse who venture out in the night and steal the moon. Is it real or did the silk pyjamaed crew of a sailing moon boat only dream it all? Dream or no dream, this charming and visually stunning show is perfectly pitched for young audiences.

The two performers Rachael Macintyre and Jusztina Hermann roll and slink together in lightning flash tops and tie dye pants against the magical and highly inventive set from Kim Bergsagel with its hand-painted proscenium arch, makeshift curtains and colourful boxes and balls scattered as if in a happy playroom. Bergsagel’s puppets, that beautifully mirror Gay’s original delicate but cheeky illustrations, have scaled versions of the characters that give the show perspective as the crescent moon boat sails across the sky lit by fairy lights as stars. From sleep to the sea to the stars; from butterflies to flying fish the journey is alive with brightness.

This gentle and playful visual performance is accompanied by gorgeous original music from Nick Paget-Tomlinson and Niroshini Thambar played on piano, fiddle and soft guitar then going upbeat with carnival drums and whistles. The soft steady breathing of sleep adds a soothing ambience to this mesmerising performance as does the lighting from Simon Wilkinson and of course Symon Macintyre’s directing. But it’s not all smooth sailing. Even in a lovely dream, there can be storms and this too is marvellously realised through the brightly painted blocks and boxes that are twisted like a Rubik’s cube to morph in to another of the story’s backdrop.

Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear is a wonderful creation and a lesson in co-operation and friendship that captivates throughout with small children leaning forward in their seats to drink it all in. It is an ingenious gem aimed at wee ones but a joy for anyone whose inner child still lurks near the surface.

01 April 2016 at 2pm age recommend 3-5 and families. Tour continues