Big Red Bath

Adapted from the popular children’s book of the same name, Big Red Bath is Full House’s offering for younger children at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe (The Snow Dog is their show for older children). Though I am not familiar with the source material, this is a fun, energetic and delightful production in its own right, and has enough stage magic to make it worth seeing.

They have very little dialogue, but hold their young audience’s attention with a combination of mime, dance, slapstick and physical theatre.

Ben and Bella are having a wash in their big red bath. As their bath time goes on, more and more friends join them, from Dog, to Lion, to Duck, to Giraffe, to Hippo. Eventually, full and slippery, the bath slides out the door and flies into outer space for a couple of rounds about the world, before returning safely home with a flock of flamingos.

The story, adapted for the stage by director Chris Elwell (of Half Moon Theatre), is sweet, but it is the way that it is told that makes Big Red Bath a great show. Keith Orton has created a gorgeous set with the bright, sharp colours and big, simple shapes of a picture book. We Were Evergreen, a Parisian indie trio, provide the wonderful soundtrack, which backs most of the show and moves seamlessly from toe-tapping upbeat dance numbers to softly nostalgic tracks. Brilliantly imaginative costumes, again by Orton, create animals out of various bathroom objects, from scrubbing brushes to laundry baskets to bath mats. The trio of actors, Charlotte Chinn, Harriet Hardie and Ben Hammond are charismatic and full of life. They have very little dialogue, but hold their young audience’s attention with a combination of mime, dance, slapstick and physical theatre. There is even the occasional joke thrown in for the adults – a preening air hostess and pilot from Flamingo Airlines take the bath home at the end.

From what I could see of the young audience, they were rapt from the moment the show started. The only issue seemed to be that the ending was a tad long. However, this is a minor criticism of an otherwise charming show, which even managed to have this adult reviewer laughing along and clapping her hands.

Reviews by Jenny Williams

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The Blurb

Rubba dubba giggle, rubba dubba laugh! There's magic to be found in the Big Red Bath. Children's theatre innovators Full House are on a bubbly, barmy bath time adventure around the world and home again in a new and vibrant adaptation of the popular children's book by Julia Jarman and Adrian Reynolds. Made in association with Half Moon and directed by Chris Elwell. Featuring a soundtrack of indie folk beats from Paris pop trio We Were Evergreen. ‘This is children’s theatre at its best’ (Stage).