Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Various soft shapes onstage turn out to be filled with dancers, dance, the inquisitiveness of being young and exploring the world for the first time. Three dancers emerge to take us through half an hour of play and just being children which delights and is joyous for the young kids as much as it is for a reviewer in the early morning trying to survive without coffee.
It is 9.15am and there are about a dozen young kids under 3 with us; it’s another tough crowd. They are settled with their mothers – no fathers on show here – until the three dancers emerge. One of them bursts into tears and is taken to a safe distance whilst the rest have eyes like saucers and hearts full of joy. We are taken through half an hour of play like a child would. The kids adore it; as do I.
Work for kids can often end up being a story that comes from our own folklore and last for about an hour as if it needs to justify the entrance fee. What I find far more impressive is the work that learns from our kids, mimics their actions and reactions and then translates into a performance, not a story nor a narrative, but a show where they can relate properly to the experience onstage.
Welcome to Puzzle. From the dancer’s emergence they take us through the inquisitiveness of working and playing with these bold shapes. From there we have them put them on, roll them to the kids and take them back, wink at the kids through the holes contained in the shapes and building the shapes up so they can bash them down. There is a simplicity, joy, energy and beauty to which every child responds with glee. The majority of gripes come because the kids cannot get onto the stage to play like the adults.
The dance is as complex and sophisticated as any modern dance group and aside from one or two near misses between them the dancers are performing as if they had a Royal Performance for this is a show where the kid is King.
One of the best parts of the show for me was when they sang a Lithuanian nursery rhyme. A few of the audience were obviously from Lithuania and they joined in. It was marvellous to feel their comfort in Scotland that they could have such a performance from their native tongue sang within their new community. It was a joy.
Overall I more than liked it and would recommend anyone with a child under 3 catch it before it goes back to Lithuania. Every so often the Fringe throws up gems like this in unexpected ways and it would be a shame if people missed it.