Tall Stories return to Edinburgh for their 20th birthday with an updated version of
Future Perfect remains an excellent choice for any family with young children.
Dominic (played by Andrew Mudie) is a ten year old boy who regrets a decision he made in the past. Luckily for him, he meets a Time Agent (played by Sophie Alice) and it’s surely just a question of nipping back in time to fix the problem! Not quite. Dominic soon learns that he can’t change the past. The future, however, is very malleable.
The production gets to this point quite quickly; Dominic is repeatedly told by the Time Agent that he can’t change the past but tries anyway. This use of repetition, combined with the simple nature of the moral, is very effective in getting the message across to the younger children in the audience. In a space no bigger than a corridor, Mudie and Alice capture their young audience’s imagination with their travels through time and prove to be a pair of very capable performers.
Audience interaction features heavily throughout the show. Twice, the show indulges in a long pause for children (and adults) to write down things that they hope for in the future or regret in the past. The very word ‘regret’ proved to be a bit of sticking point for some children unfamiliar with the word, but the sequences worked very well over all. The show was confident enough to explore the ideas of the children and was all the stronger for it.
I wonder if this confidence could have been displayed at another point of audience interaction. Several times, volunteers being asked to play versions of Dominic from different times in his life. Many of the children were keen and stepped up wonderfully to the challenge. Each time, they were presented with books containing a simple set of instructions for them to follow during the scene. For the most part, the scenes played out just fine but there was potential there to explore further and to allow the children a bit more free rein rather than having to remain mostly mute. Given how creative their ideas had been earlier, I was hoping to see more.
But Tall Stories are very experienced at what they do and this shows in their presentation. Minimal props, set and costume remain enough to enchant their audience, especially when combined with a few moments of excellently chosen sound design. Whilst perhaps not as awe-inspiring as some of their previous shows, Future Perfect remains an excellent choice for any family with young children.