The intense bond between mother and child, that in early days can be so close that identities blur, is at the core of the eponymous MamaBabaMe that’s part of this year’s Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (EICF), formerly Imaginate.
Two Edinburgh based companies are behind this latest collaborative work - Starcatchers, that specialises in creating performances for babies and children aged 0-5 and their carers, and Curious Seed, an award-winning experimental and dance company.
Within a circle of soft rocks, floored with grey soft carpet, a strange white cloth shape sits. When the cloth is pulled away by cellist Robin Mason, the coiled and intertwined foetal shape of the two dancers, Nerea Gurrutxaga and Hannah Venet, is revealed.
What follows is a beautifully interpreted gamut of birth and motherhood, skilfully directed by Christine Devaney, that goes through the closeness; the gradual letting go; the protected first faltering steps; the nourishing and nurturing between mother and child. Infantile movements are perfectly mimicked through the dancers’ fluid and flexible movements that are clearly identifiable by the wee tots seated round the mini arena.
Engaging and playful, MamaBabaMe continues to experiment with a strip of cloth that becomes a nappy and a binder, in either the physical or metaphorical sense of that laden word. All this is done under soft nursery lighting and to the gentle music by Greg Sinclair that’s played on the cello under a hanging mobile by Robin Mason.
Particularly touching was some inadvertent mirroring when some very young audience members were being fed while a similar action was taking place in the performance, that seemed to strengthen the show’s message.
MamaBabaMe is a tender, sensuous, encompassing piece of children’s theatre that manages a remote intimacy with its very young audience before going to full interactive mode at the end when children get to step over the bouncy looking boulders and play together with the performers.
30th May – 4 June times vary age recommend 18 months – 3 years