Little Gift

M6 Theatre Company have put together a heartwarming show filled with the Christmas spirit, with some truly charming use of puppetry, storytelling and stage magic It is exactly the kind of show you would expect to see at the North Wall Arts Centre at this time of year.

The show has an enchanting sense of wonder and awe about it.

Our solo performer Guy Hargreaves plays a cross between a train conductor and a guardian angel, who’s got the best job in the world, helping people by spreading a little magic. He and his friend, a bird called Sylvie, take the audience along with them on his job to help Ted, an lonely old man and puppet played skillfully by Hargreaves. We see how one small act of kindness and a bit of magic, can grow into something beautiful. The little gift of a plant pot and seed that grows becomes Ted’s motivation to reconnect with the world outside his window.

Hargreaves uses a motley collection of classic storytelling, physical theatre, sleight of hand and stage magic, to keep us intrigued as to where the story is going next. Whilst the overall pacing is a little inconsistent, and the piece takes a bit time to get going. The highlight of the piece is the character of Ted, who is delightful, and his transformation from a harrumphing OAP grumbling at the noisy neighbours, to absolutely smitten by his new frond-y friend is lovely to watch. Hargreaves has a wide and wonderful range of grumbling, muttering and groaning that instantly endear the audience to Ted. The attention to detail is excellent, Little Gifts takes small charming scenes, such as Ted and his plant sitting on a snowy vista and heightens them with a little stage magic, with Hargreaves gently sprinkling the pair of friends with falling snow. That lifts them into little moments of awe.

Designer Joss Matzen and Lighting Designer Adam Carrée have made a beautifully designed show. It takes a lot of careful planning and effort to make something look this slick and easy. I particularly enjoyed the strong recycled-eco aesthetic to the props combined with a brilliant use of colour. It’s very impressive what you can achieve with 50 suitcases, and a bundle of ingenuity. Particularly good use made of directional sound, when Sylvie was flapping around the stage, or we were zooming across town or in and out of peoples houses.

The show has an enchanting sense of wonder and awe about it. If you like your Christmas tales free of Christanity, but still with thematic morals to love thy neighbour, that will charm and absorb little ones, Little Gifts is for you.

Reviews by M Johnson

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

An old soul lives alone.He likes it that way.It’s quieter and safer.

The creator of WHITE brings a little light into the darkest season of the year.

One day, a surprise visitor plants a little seed of hope and turns this lonely life upside down. Told by a very special performer, with a playful mix of puppetry, original music and song, Little Gift is an original tale from multi-award winners M6 Theatre and Andy Manley. Join us for a beautiful and optimistic story about a friendship waiting to grow. 

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