Review by Flossie Waite
An Oily Cart Production
Reviewed at artsdepot
Touring until 28th October
For ages 3-11 with tailored versions for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and children on the autism spectrum
Naming Oily Cart productions must be a tricky job – no title could accurately reflect their latest offering. This is a production about much more than ‘Light’, and reconsiders what ‘Show’ can mean – it is as much about feeling, touching and hearing, as looking.
Light Show offers children with profound and multiple learning difficulties, or on the autism spectrum, an invitation into a papery world of weather. It is a world that starts before the theatre doors even open, and lasts until puppet Baz has accompanied every child back into the foyer: rarely is a theatre experience so complete or well thought-out.
The intimate performance area cocoons its audience, who sit on futuristic rocking-chairs beneath a sky of white umbrellas, feeling a thick grey carpet under foot, and listening to the sound of musician Adam Storey’s double bass. In this immersive space, changes in lighting and music completely alter the atmosphere, as the play shifts from the warm weather of the beach to a rainy day inside, from the brightness of day to the deep blue of night.
Performers Griff Fender and Ellie Griffith expertly lead the audience through the multi-sensory experiences of a day with Baz. When he is too hot, they feel the touch of handwarmers; when he gets sunburnt, they feel the creamy texture of sunscreen. When it’s Baz’s bedtime, every child is given a light box that contains a glow as bright as the moon, and beads that crash gently like waves. Fender and Griffith smoothly respond to any ‘spontaneous’ audience interaction, and carefully give individual attention. This personalised approach ensures the best possible experience for each child, and is just one of the many reasons that Light Show is so emotive.
If no title can adequately describe an Oily Cart show, then no review can adequately capture it. Entering an Oily Cart production is like entering a different world, and it’s one every child should experience.
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