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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

The Overcoat

Brush Theatre LLC

Genre: Children's Theatre, Family

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

Jenny’s a mischievous little girl who loves playing with her Dad. But he has to put on his business suit, pick up his briefcase and go to work. When Jenny grabs hold of his overcoat to stop him leaving, a thread unravels, becoming the start of a magical world of adventure and discovery.


Jenny is an imaginative little imp and in the hands and minds of Korean artists Brush Theatre, her imagination gets the best of her, taking us on a wonderful journey through the mind of a child. From the moment we walk into the theatre, the actors who play Jenny and her father are already interacting with the audience, even if we don’t quite understand the nature of their interaction until more of the play is revealed.

There is a lot to recommend this production. Firstly, there is the relationship of Jenny and her father, who clearly enjoy spending time together, so much so that Jenny is loath to let him go to work without a bit of tug of war with the loose threads of his jacket, a metaphor perhaps? It’s a pleasant change to see a show which features this gentle relationship though it is so well established at the outing, it is hard to shut down the parent brain which wonders who is home with Jenny while Dad goes off to work. The use of imaginative play, including the building of a house right before our eyes, seemingly from nothing but a large wooden framing box, which also becomes an interactive projection screen, used very effectively throughout the show features prominently. The use of clown, props and puppetry techniques give this show a feeling of an old time circus but with a contemporary edge of interactive technology and the stream of consciousness continuation of action seems appropriate to the shorter attention span of younger children.

Clothing plays a huge role in the show, threads and yarn creating whole worlds in which to play. I have to admit to a favorite moment when Jenny discovers a box of clothes and becomes the people who embody them, including a pair of tap dancing trousers.

Another really nice element is the addition of a live musician creating a soundscape, giving “voice” to the projected segments of the show and occasionally interacting as Jenny’s overactive imagination.

There are a few missteps with this production. The video interaction feels a bit stale after the first half of the show as it doesn’t seem to take us to a different place and some of the “scenes” seem a bit sophisticated and perhaps a little scary for some of the younger members of the audience while the performance style skews a little young for some of the more precocious members of the child audience. But these minor issues are superseded by the joyous sense of play inspired by the very imaginative mind of little Jenny.