Creator: Andy Manley
Director: Gill Robertson
Reviewer: Dominic Corr
Profoundly simplistic, though magnanimous in spiritual creativity, White may label itself as a show for the youngest theatregoers, but its aesthetics, humour and sharp imagery are of a timeless piece. Pitching itself towards the younger crowd, but refraining from simplicity, cooing or pander. Its narrative follows Cotton and Wrinkle, two chaps who task themselves as egg-carers. As these precious parcels arrive, they are cleaned, given homes and sung to sleep. That is, of course, assuming the egg is white. With the arrival of a crimson egg, starkly contrasting the bleached backdrops, Wrinkle wants to toss it into the bin where all colour belongs, Cotton, on the other hand, has another idea.
With sophistication, Andy Manley projects the difficulties we overcome in acceptance, transforming White into a rather splendid piece of family theatre. Carrying this, Michael Dylan & Ian Cameron frolic amidst this medley of textures, levels and fabrics all stitched together into this immaculate world. Rich in humour, Dylan & Cameron expresses a range facially, the easiest way of communication with not only a younger audience but those without voices, hearing impairment and non-English speakers. It’s accessible, if a little reliant on words, where a deal of movement could communicate effectively.
Catherine Wheels have a purity to their theatrical creations, which are sublime to look at, you’ll often find yourself gazing at the smallest of details in the background, wondering what this gizmo could be leading towards. As one may imagine, the set is devoid of colour, in its absence, varying shades of white, from cotton to ivory. It’s gorgeous to see designer Shona Reppe sculpt such clean, pleasing theatre despite the age range of the audience.
Lifting the performance, Reppe’s design plays an even more staggering role as the production’s infection of colour pervades against this white canvas. A warmth is tangible, as these bursts of inclusivity, from the noxious yellows to the royalist purple, are met with great cheers from the children. It’s enchanting, with a wide number of tricks, transformations and effects concealing themselves away from curious children’s prying eyes.
As these eyes soak in a rainbow of colour, a subtle composition has been pleasing the ears for some time. It’s an understated score, courtesy of Danny Krass, which compliments the production, without attempting to steer attention away. Lifting where required, specifically for an explosive finale where the final message is clear, to take the colours you see, keep them close and let your life be bright, inclusive and include every shade imaginable.
This all concocts a magical production, which seeds the idea of acceptance, regardless of colour, from an early age. White manifests a spectrum of sentiments, in such a short space of time, that it’s a wonder to think about long after the little, and not so little ones, have left the theatre.
Runs until 28 November 2019 then tours | Image: Contributed