Night Light, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Andy Manley and Teater Refleksion and co- produced by Red Bridge
Bjarne Sandborg (director), Andy Manley, Mariann Aagaard and Bjarne Sandborg (co-creators) Mariann Aagaard (set designer), Daniel Padden (composer/sound designer), Anders Kjems (lighting designer)
Andy Manley
Running time

‘It’s time to say goodnight and it’s time to close your eyes. Let’s put out the light till the dawn breaks through the skies’. So says the old 1930s’ waltz whose soothing lyrics and tune make a fine lullaby for any age.

But sometimes, even the sleepiest eyes just don’t want to close and night lights are a comfort to wee ones as they lie in the semi dark waiting to drift off to sleep.

Taking its name from these comforting lights, Night Light, a co-production between consummate children’s performer Andy Manley and Danish company Teater Refleksion that premiered in Denmark, is part of this year’s Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (EICF).

As time on the clock made with spoon chimes moves on and the day winds down to night, one disembodied baby voice lets starry socked Manley, the quiet controller of the night, know that it’s not ready for the land of nod. Try as he might, he can’t get this sleepless wee one to drop off. And so, a wide-awake, nocturnal journey begins on its way to a bird twittering dawn.

Against the backdrop of a soporific blue sits the Lilliputian delight of exquisitely detailed distressed wood furniture that become vocalised objects across the truly beautifully realised 45 -minute performance. It feels like being on the inside of a music box that plays eclectic sounds from honky tonk to classical to Asian. It contains enchanting, gasp inducing surprises revealed by Manley, who was unfazed by giggling shrieks of pleasure from a young audience that was totally on board with this utterly charming show.

Quietly humorous and gentle, Night Light is a wonderfully imagined dream world. ‘Magical’ doesn’t come close to how the effects of making a jungle, flying fish or a fully functioning fairground are achieved. The entire team has created a cornucopia of wonder.

An absolute prize of a show.

30th May- 4 June times vary age recommend 3-6 years