Sunday, 4 March 2012
Last week, Eldest and I jumped at the opportunity to review The Forest, a contemporary dance piece for children and adults by Fevered Sleep.
There are lots of family theatre shows around that are aimed at children. Quite often they have people dressed up in bright costumes, doing comedy smiling. There are few that I have seen that manage to capture the experience of being a child: of exploring, of playing, and of being amazed.
The Forest takes place in a hazily-lit, golden-floored forest, with trees stretching up into infinity with the help of some cleverly-placed mirrors. Mist hangs around it; lights hang in droplets from around the trees. Three performers run into the space, and begin to play: to tangle themselves up in red elastic, slide themselves with enthusiastic shoves from tree to tree, and watch as amazing new things - pine cones and conkers and leaves - fall from the sky.
All kinds of things can happen in the forest. You can lose your friends - in an attempt to find them, one performer climbs another believing he is a tree, and stands on top of him, calling his name. You can fall asleep and turn into a grumpy bear. You can turn into a falling leaf, tossed by the wind.
It was a gorgeous production - dream-like and full of wonder. And the playing was real - each new performance, we discovered later, was ever so slightly different: the performers continued to experiment and explore even after dozens of shows. Though the show was aimed at the over fives (Littlest was lucky enough to go with her school class), it's entirely fair to say that both Eldest and I got completely lost in the performance. As the lights went down towards evening, and the dancers sat and gathered around a single amber light which floated around them like a firefly, we wanted nothing more than to light a campfire and bed down for the night.
There's still chance to catch this show if you happen to live in the right places - details of the tour are here.