City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Lost Things, Southside Community Centre, Imaginate Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 12 May 2015

Web Tortoise In A Nutshell and  Oliver Emanuel present The Lost Things image Amelia Bird.jpg
Show Details
Tortoise in a Nutshell and Oliver Emanuel
Ross MacKay (director), Oliver Emanuel (writer), Amelia Bird (designer), Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Jim Harbourne (composer)
Alex Bird, Arran Howie
Running time: 

The anticipation in waiting for a show to start usually takes the form of waiting in a bright auditorium for the lights to dim and the proverbial curtain to rise. This latest production from Edinburgh based visual theatre and puppet company Tortoise in a Nutshell does something quite different.

The action takes place in a black domed yurt where audiences sit on flat cushions around the sides and the logistics of doing this take a bit of time. Once inside, a big paper moon or some other planet hangs above, giving a sense of being in black hole somewhere in outer space. This dark space is home to a dark and eerie tale of what it is to lose things.

A boy is on a strange journey. During his wanderings, he meets a girl who is constructing a robot and the two develop a bond and friendship as each is lost. Tackling the subject of missing children is a serious task but thankfully the only monster in this dark story is the metallic one created by the bespectacled and be-goggled girl and this one, despite its size and noise was met with glee rather than fear!

Performers Alex Bird and Arran Howie manipulate the beautifully created lantern faced puppets and act as the characters, their clothes mirroring those of the puppets. The beautifully detailed set comprises Makintoshian ladders and what looks like distressed wooden compartments that house miniature artefacts as well as various forms of transport. There is little dialogue other than lots of Myazakian ‘huhs’ but the piece is brilliantly augmented by sounds from plucking guitar; a cuckoo clock ; a music box; a classical waltz ; gentle guitar and crashing metallic sounds for the robotic metal man. They cleverly recreate features shown in film like a gently tumbling object or a set of keys appearing from nowhere just by doing the action manually yet still creating wonder.

While some of the wonderful plane flying was missed because of the low light, and the small space means at times other views aren’t seen as well as they might have been, over all the space provides world of its own where such minor niggles are just that. When dialogue is introduced at the end speech is too quiet and indistinct to be properly heard but by that time the magic has been worked.

Tortoise in a Nutshell returns to the haunting atmosphere they created in The Last Miner with this exquisite encompassing piece of theatre.
Age recommend 9+
Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13 and Saturday 16 May

Seating on covered flooring but seats can be requested if needed