In their fantastic, feast-for-the-eyes costumes – including brightly coloured converses and Oompa Loompa style facepaint – Dolphin School Theatre Company put together a very physical piece of theatre: a tale of Gerald the giant and his small friend Martha in this story about dementia.
The large cast stays on stage throughout, moving around each other to create an impression of a chorus of supportive giants for Gerald and his memory loss problems. Visually it is incredibly stimulating; this cast is also used to create a sense of place, utilising several clever techniques such as employing bubbles to simulate an active volcano. The waistcoats of these giants must have been the work of a small genius. I spent a lot of the performance trying to work out the significance of the eclectic range of objects that are pinned all over them, some of which relate to characters that they later become in the show and some which just add another layer of interest - of particular note is a to-do list which contains the instruction ‘Breathe’.
It might seem strange to use a cast of children to deal with the issue of aging but this only adds to the pathos of the performance. It has a childish, quirky appeal through most of the show until it suddenly hits a sharply painful moment as the seriousness of the themes are realised.
This is by no means an unflawed production but it compensates for that by being stimulating and inventive. It is wrong to expect completely polished acting from such a very young theatre troop and this may appeal to youngsters all the more for having people of their own age group in it. What with its original storyline and the inventive form of presentation it has plenty to offer for those who are looking for something a bit different.