Reviewing a show is about what’s happening on stage and not in the audience. But when it comes to children’s shows it pays to keep an eye on the target audience of wee tots.
With this latest show from Starcatchers, Scotland’s specialists in creating theatre for wee ones under 5years old, it was clear that the group of tots were mesmerised and totally on board from the get go.
First created in 2010 by Hazel Darwin-Clements as part of her Starcatchers Artist in Residency at The Byre Theatre, The Attic, a show about the special relationship between grandmother and granddaughter, has been revived to embrace a spectrum of ages and now includes dementia friendly performances.
Lucy (Hazel Darwin-Clements) wants some help to find her Grandma (Gowan Calder) who, according to her Mum, is ‘away with the fairies’. But instead of taking her to fairyland, the trail of wool that Lucy is following takes her to the attic. Here she finds her Gran ‘untangling thoughts’ and wool as she creates things like Richard the pom- pom emu and a glove fit for Edward Scissorhands. Her past surrounds her in the form of memory triggering souvenirs that are kept in tiers of hat boxes and some battered old cases, charmingly put together thanks to Karen Tennant’s thoughtful design. But some memories are just too special to share at least right away, so one box remains taboo. And what does taboo mean? Intrigue for Lucy!
Performed through some gentle clowning, and accompanied by a dusty coated David Paul Jones at the piano playing sounds whose mood chimes beautifully with each scene, like the crescendo of surprises as the tower of tiered boxes reveals their contents, The Attic is an innocent, intergenerational delight that encourages looking out and up and forward no matter what age.
Full of play and dressing up, the show ends with Starcatchers’ trademark interactive style, when a cornucopia of hats makes a milliner’s dream of a tea party involving ‘machine washable’ doughnuts and cupcakes for all.
In Lucy’s words, why not ‘Follow the trail of wool’ to, The Attic and find what delights lie in this yarn involving lots of yarn that’s as much a homage to the art of knitting as it is a gorgeous piece of children’s theatre.
This current tour is part of Theatre in Schools Scotland.
Tue 9 to Sat 13 Jan, Sat 20 & Sun 21 Jan10.30am & 1.30pm Dementia friendly performance on Friday 19 January