Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Review: Family Storytime - The Mice in Council

By Sophie Charlotte Thomas*

As soon as I arrived at Scottish Youth Theatre, I could feel the energy and excitement bubbling from all the little children outside the Edwin Morgan Studio. I couldn’t help but wonder how their energy would be contained throughout the production.

As soon as the doors swung open and two enthusiastic storytellers burst out welcoming the audience, my previous concern disappeared. Each child was captivated by the actors’ animated voices and faces. As we were led into the studio, which can only be described as a treasure trove of colourful props and costumes, the children were instantly drawn into this imaginary world

The simple story of Mr Higgins, his cat and some mischievous mice who liked swimming in soup (a past time which I suspect will not feature in this year’s Olympic Games) was jam-packed with opportunities for audience participation: catchy songs, little actions, the chance to help the mice solve their problems and even swim in soup alongside their mousey friends.

The experience was fully interactive for every child and the adults were provided with great amusement from some of the hilarious comments made by the children. Like when asked if they knew what a council is, one of the children wittingly replied “East Renfrewshire is a council right?”. The story allowed the children to think and learn without even being aware of it.

The performance itself was exciting, simple and, frankly, full of fun. The actors were full of enthusiasm. Each performer had incredible improvisation skills, reacting and responding to everything the children said. The simplicity of the performance made it accessible to children of all ages.

The story was the perfect length and the children were transported to this imaginary world, which becomes evident from just looking at their faces and listening to their laughter. The children’s imagination was stretched and explored and the imaginary wall usually found in a theatre performance was completely broken down. They even had the chance to play with the amazing collection of props and costumes on the stage. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to theatre from a very early age and it is a fun family activity. I just can’t wait to take my baby niece to her very first Family Storytime at Scottish Youth Theatre!

*Sophie is a member of SYT's Young Reviewers group. A group of young people who study theatre and they are passionate about performing arts for children and young people. If you want to take part or to find out more, you can email kyriakosv@scottishyouththeatre.org.