Reviewed by Flossie Waite
A Discover production
At Discover until 23rd April
For ages 0-3
Downstairs at Discover, an immersive exhibition welcomes visitors to the world of Dr. Seuss. The Cat In The Hat is one of the stories included in the interactive installation: Seuss’ famous book about a feline in striking headgear, who causes chaos when visiting two home-alone children stuck inside on a rainy day. Things could have been so different for Sally and her brother, if instead of staying indoors and allowing the unruly cat to join them, they had braved the weather and played outside. Drip Drop is performed only a couple of floors above the Dr. Seuss exhibition, and if the ill-fated siblings had seen it they would surely have been convinced to throw on their wellies and enjoy the downpour, rather than watch their house get wrecked by a rhyming animal.
Drip Drop takes place under a canopy of umbrellas, as one story builder uses household items, like buckets, a limited vocabulary, including many onomatopoeic words, and movement, mostly easily replicable actions, to guide the audience through an exploration and celebration of rain. Aimed at 0-3 year olds, it is simple, accessible and charming, and clearly draws on the specialisms of its three creators. Matt Hutchinson’s puppetry expertise informs the playful and imaginative object manipulation that has the very young audience giggling almost as soon as they have sat down: a bucket used to carefully collect raindrops is also a hat perfect for playing peepo with, and a drum that resounds with beating fingers. There’s quite a lot of tapping and patting, stomping and stamping, in the show, and often in tandem with the drip drop of descending droplets, the pitter patter of falling rain, and the splish splash of growing puddles. Bringing together the skills of beatboxer Hobbit, and the experience of trained dancer and performer Alice Mackenzie, the production combines the noises and movements we associate with rain to create a rhythmically rich experience.
Drip Drop is very interactive, with the audience encouraged to join in and mimic the sounds and actions of the storybuilder. It’s hard to know whether it’s more fun to tap a pitter patter pattern all the way from the bottom of your toes up to the top of your head, or to watch the storybuilder doing the same with joyful, silly abandon. All of these moments feel like fresh discoveries newly made, the result of a curious and playful approach to engaging with the world that mimics the young audience, rather than following a linear narrative. As natural and unstructured as it feels, however, Drip Drop culminates with a final routine that brings everything together; after this jubilant rain dance, it’s almost disappointing to return to sunny skies.
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