Edinburgh Fringe 2015
There is a garden man on the lookout for a little girl who has lost her teddy. He travels the garden in search of her, fighting a pirate fish, helping a frog, chasing off a jellyfish and being helped by a snail and a dog in his quest. It all ends as it ought and child and cuddly toy are reunited whilst our puppetry guide goes off in search of new adventure outside of the garden.
This was a pleasant hour in the company of two young performers who have enthusiasm enough for us all as they take us through this journey with gusto and charm. The puppets which helped the Garden Man were great and there was clear invention in the use of tissue paper for jellyfish and frog; but it was the dog and snail for me which were the better though they were more conventional. As for the Garden Man, with someone working in a technical capacity we could have done with more pizazz – perhaps lights for eyes or something to make the whole thing stand out. For me I was struggling to buy into the concept of these three items becoming a whole man. Having said that the young kids were in tune and fine with it being a person. What helped immensely was both performers being able to tag team the puppetry but retain the same characteristics.
The script kept things going though at times the pace was a little snail like. This was, however, advertised as a show for 4 to 12 year olds. I could see it being difficult to keep the upper age range occupied. For the lower age range though it was accepted by them and they were joining in with gusto.
The technical issue with the venue made life difficult for both performers as it was overly conventional where being on the same level and in amongst the crowd would have suited the performance better.
Technically I liked the use of the backdrops being projected though the video stopped a bit abruptly. In terms of the narrative I wasn’t sure how Molly got her teddy back but this did not seem to worry the crowd. It was a show that took the Garden Man to the edge of the garden and sent him out into the big wide world. This was successful and perhaps Molly’s teddy became superfluous.
The performers were measured and a little nervous of their tasks at times – I do think they were struggling to stretch things to the allotted time. It was interesting to see one of them come down into the crowd and work with them at the end. That connection between performer and audience was where this show was at its best.
This was perhaps 45 minutes worth of a show targeted at the ages 4 to 7 that would sparkle with a little more around the Garden Man. If you have a 4 to 7 year old though, as it stands just now, then you could do far worse – and I have – to take your wee one along to see Little Tricks when Garden Man returns from his wanderings.