It’s always difficult to know whether my opinion is going to be shared by others. What if something is actually marmite? With festival reviews, I always try to look at the rest of the audience as well. Are they laughing? Are the children settled and happy? Has anyone walked out?! With Oskar’s Amazing Adventures there was no doubt – the audience, young and old alike, just seemed mesmerised.
To back that up – I’ve teamed up with local artist Cassandra Harrison who also attended the show with her daughter (on a different day) to get her opinion too:
Laura: Oskar’s Amazing Adventure is the tale of a small puppy who has been snowbound in the Swiss Alps for weeks. Bored of being shut in the cabin he sets off for an adventure. The set was fairly simple but very clever with each of the illustrated characters from the book existing as a prop. I felt the magic of the show really came through the talent of the storyteller.
Cassandra: The stage set was beautifully painted and the props although minimal, were wonderfully illustrated and changeable enough to continue to hold the interest of the audience as well as hold together the story. The main character Oskar is an adventurous little puppy (puppet) full of curiousity about the world outside his cabin. He wants to play with his friends and goes out into the forest to seek them out. Throughout the play, Oskar experiences the changing seasons, meets new friends and gets into a bit of mischief. Puppetry and people are all played by one very energetic performer.
Laura: I was just amazed how expressive she was and how a young woman could just take the whole audience way up into the alps. I’ve been telling everyone she’s the most gifted story-teller I’ve ever seen.
Cassandra: She kept the audience engaged and at the end of the show, I liked how she invites the kids onto the stage to help put away the props. What was that Miss Poppins? Every task that must be done has an element of fun. Let’s make tidying cool again.
Laura: That would’ve been cool. I don’t think she did that at our show but the kids were invited to pet the toys and meet Oskar at the end. Katie was very happy to give him a cuddle!
Cassandra: What category of child would you place your Little? There are the ones that are happy to sit at a task for 15 glorious minutes, giving you time to make a cup of tea, put on the wash, answer three emails, text a colleague and put away breakfast things in one go. Mine is not that child. So. To say that this little production held her attention for the entire 50 minutes is saying quite a lot for this team of one performer and perhaps a couple of people behind the scenes. My daughter is 3 1/2; this show pitches itself to 2 – 8 year olds and I think that’s pretty spot on. I’d say though that for any one younger, some bits might be a bit too scary. (It’s not all that scary – a fox shows up and is a bit naughty).
Laura: Katie is pretty good at sitting still – if she’s interested. She say really well though the performance and enjoyed the digging show where she could join in. The story teller invited participation at times which I felt helped keep the kids attentions. I was surprised to see adults attending without children but they joined in the actions with equal gusto and seemed to enjoy it! There was a small baby and toddler in the row in front of us – both were well behaved throughout and only needed a snack to settle right towards the end of the performance.
Cassandra: The production is the brainchild of Theatre Fideri Fidera, an Anglo Swiss children’s theatre company, which explains the educational lapses into German and French.
Laura: I chatted to the author Colin Granger after the show – the storyteller is actually his daughter Natasha and is half Swiss herself. It was interesting to hear that the picture book and play were actually created side by side. Both evolved together which I think was really successful given how enjoyable the play was. I’ve been to other adaptations that felt forced and dragged out – this wasn’t like that AT all.
Cassandra: How many stars? All of them, I’d say.
Laura: Definitely the full five!
Thank you Cassandra for your review and definitely thanks to everyone who worked on this production.