Review by Flossie Waite
Presented by Peut-être Theatre Company
For ages 3+
Touring nationally until May 27th
No sound is too small or silence too big for Shh… Bang!, a production that revels in every Velcro rip and savors each sweet-wrapper rustle. All sounds are celebrated; in fact, the show starts with an announcement to parents not to shh their children at any point in the production.
Armed only with microphones and a minimal set, performers Maya Politaki and Anna Woolhouse (along with whoever is controlling the sound desk, essentially a brilliant third performer) call attention to the sounds around us. Beginning, in the audience, with zippers being zipped and raspberries being blown, ‘live’ noises are gradually interspersed with recordings played as if real: a mic held closely to one child’s chest catches her heartbeat, held over a parent’s brain overhears squeaky mutterings, held to a woman’s wrist catches the ticking of her watch, which tick-tick-ticks itself into a staccato-tune, a musical beat that has Politaki and Woolhouse moving across the stage like dancing clocks.
The show is punctuated by these longer pieces of movement, dances that embody the sounds we are hearing until, gradually, the audience can no longer distinguish whether it is the sounds making the performers move, or the performers moving that makes the sound. These blurred lines encapsulate what propelled Peut-être Theatre: that “sound is vibration and vibration is movement.”
The audience joins in throughout, as the performers venture out to capture sounds and invite children onto the stage. Just as interesting as the curated involvement is the newfound attention for sounds you may previously have tried to ignore. Young audiences are rarely quiet, and it’s a joy to be made aware of every noise in the auditorium – from demands to eat a banana, to hushed attention (both, and much more, were heard at the performance I watched). Shh… Bang! is surprisingly challenging in its simplicity.
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