Too Many Penguins?, Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Macrobert and Frozen Charlotte
Heather Fulton (director), Brenda Murphy (dramaturg), Katy Wilson (designer), Greg Sinclair (composer), Grant Anderson (production manager), Mark Ritchie (lighting designer and technical manager), Malcolm Rogan (technical stage manager), Sarah Gray (programme and projects producer)
Joe Douglas (Mr Polaro), Nicola Jo Cully (Penguina)
Running time

Traverse Two is the Christmas home for the acclaimed production from Frozen Charlotte, one of Scotland’s leading companies in creating high quality theatrical productions specifically for very young audiences, Too Many Penguins?

In a quiet white world created from simple props, we meet the solitary and orderly Mr Polaro (Joe Douglas), a bow tied, tennis- shoed teddy (who might just be a fluent in polari) fishing through a hole in the ice. His neighbour, Penguina (Nicola Jo Cully), lives in a brightly coloured tent close by. She is expecting some visitors. You’ve guessed it – more penguins. They arrive in dribs and drabs by various ingeniously presented modes of transport – a hot air balloon, a car, a boat - each one containing more and more penguins.

Mr Polaro’s cosy world is turned upside down by the arrival of these chaotic creatures while Penguina with her exquisitely observed penguin walk, revels at each new batch, uttering squeals of Italianate delight as they turn up in droves; Auntie Brenda, Fraser et al.

With puppetry, percussion sounds and a gently jaunty violin, the production shows the benefits of living well with one’s neighbours, no matter how different they may seem. At least that’s the adult message! For the wee ones of 1-4 years old at whom it is aimed, the wonderful wee world of gentle white is an enchanting introduction to the magic of theatre.

Adults and children alike can be entranced by this gem. The joint was jumpin’ at the end to the jivin’ sounds as the young audience gets to meet the eponymous heroes. Joyful!

Too Many Penguins? won the 2012 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Best Production for Children and Young People and is currently on an extended run at London’s Polka Theatre from 17th October 2012 – 13th February 2013.

Showing at the Traverse Theatre 11 – 22 December, 10.30am and 2pm every day except Sundays & Mondays

P is for Panto: A round-up of Edinburgh Christmas Shows 2012