Review by Flossie Waite
Half Moon presents a theatrical music gig, Lullaby Lane
Reviewed at Half Moon Theatre
For ages 3-7
Lullaby Lane is part theatre, part gig. It’s a cool concept that feels surprisingly unlike anything else around, given the intimate setting and atmospheric music of so many children’s shows. While the folk-inspired songs are all gorgeous, further thought is needed to make sure that this show works as a very musical performance in a theatrical setting.
Katie (Fran Wyburn) and George Birkett perform a dreamy soundtrack to Katie’s life, transporting the audience to Lullaby Lane, and her childhood home after she has just moved in. Out of cardboard boxes come the houses that surrounded hers; behind their front doors live the neighbours that become Katie’s friends.
The puppetry is limited, as Wyburn and Birkett have their hands full playing various instruments, and the lovely projected illustrations are at risk of being overlooked as attention is trained on the performers playing elsewhere on stage. This means the narrative is mainly told through music, making the retrospective framing unnecessarily complicated – it’s tricky to follow the shuttling between “old” and “young” Katie if essential parts of the story are only included in lyrics that are easily missed. Katie’s reflections also add a sentimental wash that probably appeals and means more to adults than children.
More guidance from the performers would help an unsure audience know how to respond – are we following theatre etiquette, sitting (mostly) quietly and clapping at the end? Or gig protocol, with all the arm-waving and toe-tapping we can muster? Perhaps the audience could be taught actions or words associated with repeated refrains – not so that this feels like a happy-clappy workshop or mini-Sound of Music, but so that everyone in the room feels more comfortable and able to engage.
Lullaby Lane needs a bit of tweaking, but only because it’s venturing into largely uncharted territory; the main event – the music – is superb.
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