Friday, May 26, 2023

Geppetto – grief observed and interrupted in this imaginative non-verbal tale for children young and old (Amadan Ensemble at Lyric Theatre until Sunday 28 May)

Geppetto brings old electrical appliances back to life in his repair shop. But he’s sad and depressed, missing his wife. Until something disrupts his doleful reverie, and a light appears at the end of his tunnel.

David Morgan’s wordless story is enlivened by a king of physical comedy and a queen on puppeteering. The lack of dialogue leaves Jude Quinn’s expertly controlled movement and facial expressions to drive the storytelling. As an audience member, you have the freedom to write your own internal tale about the unfolding action: but fear not, the clues are plentiful and you’ll not get lost.

After the central character has been established, Sarah Lyle joins him on stage and brings a particular piece of electrical equipment to life: you won’t realise the gap you’ve had in your life until you witness the Ceilidh dancing Anglepoise lamp that’s crucial to the storytelling in this production!

Everyone’s movements are subtle – though watch closely to observe how the repertoire of motions and gestures evolves – and the technical tricks that animate so many of the objects in the repair shop in so many different ways are incredibly intricate. Dave Marks’ score is synchronised with much of Michael McEvoy’s choreography, adding layers of mood and understanding to the non-verbal production that is suitable for children aged six right up to my age and above.

Director Gemma Mae Halligan has crafted performances that are gorgeous to watch. It’s an imaginative children’s show that should travel easily, not just because of the lack of translation, but also the familiar hook back to Pinocchio’s creator, and the way that the study on grief and remembering is universal.

It’s great to see another example of innovative and accessible children’s work being produced by a growing circle of Northern Ireland theatre makers.

Amadan Ensemble’s production of Geppetto continues its short run at the Lyric Theatre until Sunday 28 May.

Enjoyed this review? Why not click on the Buy Me a Tea button!

No comments: