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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Little Light review

© Mark Fisher - published in Northings, Hi-Arts journal

Little Light (Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, 29 October 2008, and touring)

SORRY, TOO LATE. If you're able to read this, you're no longer in the market for Little Light. Quite considerably beyond it, in fact. Produced by Edinburgh's Star Catchers in association with the Byre Theatre, Little Light is a show for 0-3 year olds. If you're out of nappies, you're already too old.

That's a shame for the rest of us because it's an exquisite show, one that keeps not only the tots but also their carers spellbound for a dream-like half hour. Created by Andy Manley and Vanessa Rigg, it has real integrity, neither patronising the young audience nor dazzling them like some primary coloured children's TV show. Rather, it creates its own atmospheric world and, with grace and gentleness, lets us share in its quiet magic.

It begins as the audience settle on cushions in front of a set bathed in blue light. There is no expectation they will remain still, yet I have seen plenty more restless audiences of adults in my time, so engrossing are the performances of the two actors, Itxaso Moreno and Lois Creasy.

What they offer is less a story than a journey of exploration with, oddly enough, a little light as the hero. The glowing ball appears in the hands of the wonderfully dextrous Moreno, prompting a simple chant: "Little Light high, Little Light low, Little Light fast, Little Light slow."

That's about as verbally complex as the show gets, the company understanding that for this age group, there is most value in repetition, visuals and music. So unimportant is language, in fact, that Moreno occasionally slips into her native Spanish and causes no confusion.

Accompanied by Stephen Deazley's excellent score, the actors play with simple shapes – a big white moon, a huge balloon – and recognisable items from the natural world – a butterfly, a feather and flowers that really smell. With Little Light, we travel from the sea to the sky, experiencing the textures and sounds of the inventive procession of props emerging from the actors' baskets, some of them finding their way into the audience.

It is subtle and finely judged, so much so that the closing round of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ almost seems like a cynical crowd-pleaser. It's nothing of the kind, of course, being a fitting tribute to the Little Light which has taken its place in the heavens, paving the way for the audience to take to the stage to begin explorations of their own.

Little Light is at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, on 21-22 November 2008)

© Mark Fisher, 2008

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