City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Small Wonders, Edinburgh International Children's Festival, Review


By Erin Roche - Posted on 18 May 2019

5
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Show Details
Venue: 
The Warehouse
Company: 
Punchdrunk
Production: 
Tara Boland (Director, Co-Creator), Peter Higgin (Director, Co-Creator), Nessah Muthy (Writer, Co-Creator), Kate Rigby (Designer, Co-Creator), Adam Foley (Lighting Designer), Salvador Garza (Sound Designer)
Performers: 
Erin Geraghty (Nanny Lacey), Mia Jerome (Bella Lacey), Liz Watts-Legg (Nanny Lacey), Sarah Akokhia (Bella Lacey)
Running time: 
60mins

Ring the bell at Number 17, and Nanny Lacey opens the door to her world of “scrapgic”, where ordinary things become the stuff of wonders. This enveloping, interactive experience is par for the course for Punchdrunk, an impossibly inventive company that creates roaming, immersive productions based in sensory, theatrical worlds. Follow them down any rabbit hole; Small Wonders is nothing short of magical.

Erin Geraghty as Nanny Lacey welcomes you into her quaint, tchotchke-speckled flat, with wide eyes, two brightly-coloured hair clips and a canary yellow jumper. Her daughter Bella (Mia Jerome) follows closely behind, ensuring we all get a cosy seat around Nanny to listen as she shares her miniature creations. Jaws drop collectively as we take in every minute detail of the fully-realised home of elderly Nanny: opened letters still in their envelopes, lace curtains above the sink, books entitled 400 Best Ever Soups. There’s a tightrope hung between two bookshelves as a tiny acrobat prepares; sat between this and a coffee table whose outer rim is a runner’s track, you begin to realise there are likely hundreds of these miniature moments scattered around and not enough time to feast your eyes on them all.

Using her miniatures to recount her memories, Nanny opens the box to show the children disco dancing with Bella, birthday parties on caravan holidays and one miniature she’s not quite finished with yet. Smoothly transitioning in and out of audience participation and charming script, Nanny and Bella get everyone involved, asking the children what a bottle cap could become and having this reviewer answer the telephone and share, to Nanny’s discontent, that it’s Sheltered Accommodation calling.

When Bella leaves the room to take the phone call, Nanny Lacey asks, “Can I tell you a secret?” Almost cinematic in response, the kids whisper excitedly in unison, “Yes!” This is when the real magic begins. For fear of spoiling it, this review will not include what happens next but the Willy Wonka-reminiscent spectacle makes children of us all. (One spoiler: Expect a giant biscuit.)

The museum-of-curiosities display alone guarantees this piece a must-see, but the narrative succeeds in shining as brightly as the wondrous design, with a clever and heartwarming story, one of childlike Nanny and her worrisome and caring daughter Bella, that transcends to all parents and children, especially those with ageing loved ones. Taking immersive theatre to new heights with its miniatures, Small Wonders is about the importance of keeping childlike wonder alive and about holding onto the magic in the everyday. It’s difficult to imagine a better production more suited to inspiring a love of theatre in our youngest and to expanding our minds as to what theatre can be. All you have to do is believe.

5+
Located at The Warehouse in Leith:
Elizafield, Unit 7, Edinburgh , EH6 5PY
Due to the interactive nature of the show, adults on their own will not be admitted. A small allocation of tickets are available for delegates.
14 May-2 June
Tickets can (and should) be purchased here: https://www.imaginate.org.uk/festival/whats-on/small-wonders/