A line of wiggly worms wait impatiently to enter the magical night-time world where anything is possible. Entering into the venue at Paterson’s Land was a joy for the senses, an innovative landscape of light and colour, pillows and pram parking and a surprisingly sophisticated soundscape as parents were invited to sit on cushions with their little ones, all of whom got lion’s tales to wag and tickle as they take their seats. One note to parents, as the space is limited, during sell out shows, only one parent can sit with a child in the play space but there are chairs set up around the room to watch so you’ll want to pick a parent before entering.
The immediate engagement of the young audience, each of whom experienced one-on-one interaction with a member of the cast was remarkable but what was most impressive about this charming production was the very clear understanding of child development. The actors struck a wonderful balance of engagement without pushing the bounds of comfort. There were an amazing array of sensory experiences, from tactile pages in a storybook to glowing orbs which children see and touch seemingly plucked right from the sky. The music, a combination of pre-recorded tracks and live vocals and percussion was an array of awe-inspiring complex chords, syncopation and repetition. Through classic children’s games such as sock puppets and parachutes, the children were transported to the land of make believe exposing them to simple concepts such as rhyme and mimicry as well as very complex rhythms and music. This show really gets it right, with spot on audience interaction, wonderful timing and, of course, truly beautiful voices.
Parents will also appreciate the creative use of everyday objects such as socks and bath sponges which allow them to continue the play at home. My favorite moment was when all the children were given socks, in an attempt to help one of the actors find the matching one so he could cover his bare feet, and I wanted to cheer one little tike who, after a moment of trepidation, proudly produced his sock for all to see.
First introduced as a bedtime story, the actors brought to life the tale of a friendly, musical, sleepy lion. There was no sense of urgency, no overstimulation but each child had a chance to engage in play. This is not an in-your-face, big eyes, dumbed down children’s show but a smart, savvy, brilliant and beautiful event. As an added bonus, children were invited to experience the tactile set in a five minute post show play date. Words truly cannot describe this delightful, charming, mesmerising show. I can only say, I longed to be a kid again, if this could be my playground.