Written by David Almond, and staged by Theatre Alibi, this is a one set, one hour, production. The opinion of adults is irrelevant to a children’s production. Jacob, aged five years, and Harry, aged seven, both theatre veterans, accompanied us to tell us how they saw it.
A simple, but striking and colourful, set, designed by Trinna Bramman, turns out to be more versatile than it at first appears, seamlessly morphing from a block of flats to the moon. A cast of three manipulate puppets to tell the story, Lisa Lee- Leslie plays accordion and hang drum, the latter to considerable effect, as musical accompaniment. Having live music brought an immediacy and vibrancy to the morning. The performing style is more one of animated storytelling, than conventional play.
The plot itself is dreamy, laconic and ambles, rather than races, along. This is a cerebral, not visceral experience, one which encourages children, and adults, to dream, and wonder, “What if ?”
The target audience is ostensibly six to twelve years old, but the late morning performance was solidly in the five to nine years age range. They were captivated by the idea of a young boy, Paul, who thinks that the moon is a hole in the sky and that he is going to climb into it. And who could not warm to Clarence the poodle who thinks he can fly? Harry liked the bit where, “everyone had to heave to pull Paul to the moon”, and gave it twenty out of ten. Jacob gave it 100/100, and liked the bit best where Paul is climbing the ladder to the moon. They liked it.
The story did not outstay its welcome, all the children in the audience were kept engaged, by a lovely, wistful show which is a credit to Daniel Jamieson’s adaptation of David Almond’s story, and Director Nikki Sved’s vision for how it should appear on stage. It continues on national tour.