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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, December 22, 2011

Too Many Penguins?, theatre review

Published in the Scotsman
MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling

YOU know that feeling when you've invited the relatives over for Christmas and it seems more and more keep showing up? You just don't know where to put them all.

That's the dilemma faced by little Penguina in Frozen Charlotte's delightful show for the under-threes.

She's happily sharing her wintry landscape with Mr Polaro, an unusually tolerant polar bear in charge of the upkeep of the lighthouse, when a tiny penguin drops by in a hot air balloon. There's ample room in her tent for this one but, before she knows it, there's a car-load of fluffy penguins driving up and then still more disembarking from a boat.

Played with eccentric charm by Nicola Jo Cully, Penguina is the hospitable type and she gamely does what she can to accommodate them all. But we've already seen she can be a bit of a scamp herself, and it's not long before the penguins are everywhere but where they should be.

In Heather Fulton's quietly inventive production, they show up spinning on Mr Polaro's record player, in his drawers and underneath his armchair. How they find their way there on Katy Wilson's Arctic set, with its red-and-white stripes echoing the black-and-white penguin, is a little bit of theatrical magic.

As every two year-old knows, however, there's no such thing as too many penguins and, as the creatures multiply like the brooms in Disney's Fantasia, the children's pleasure grows accordingly. They need little persuasion to join a rock'n'roll penguin dance for the happy, cuddly finale.
Rating: ****

© Mark Fisher, 2011
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