You And Me And The Space Between | Terrapin Puppet TheatrePhoto – Peter Mathew

The Proud Circle is a self-contained island. So self-contained, that its inhabitants believe that it is the only island in the entire world. They are in for quite a shock when their island springs a leak, and they are forced to row it to shallower waters where they encounter the people of The White Cliifs. So begins this children’s tale and meditation on the barriers that exist between cultures.

The play is narrated by Eve (Raelee Hill) who beams with energy yet never patronises her audience. She is curious, eager to learn and sees patterns in everything. Being able to see what is, as well as what isn’t, allows her to develop an understanding and empathy for others. This raises the question of whether some people are predispositioned towards attitudes of tolerance and acceptance. The play risks self-parody by becoming a little too idealistic. “Wouldn’t everything be fine if only we could understand each other and learn each other’s language”, it pleads at times before drawing more realistic conclusions. Not all differences can be resolved but at least they can be lived with.

Enough politics, this is a children’s play. It should be fun and it sure is! Pictures are drawn live by Artist Cathy Wilcox onto a tablet then projected on a screen of paper which folds and bends as the scenes change. Characters manipulated by puppeteer Felicity Horsley poke through holes in the paper. We have live music played by Dean Stevenson including the eternally warm and welcoming sounds of a double bass.

The best part of the production is the way that the theatre makers work in perfect harmony with each other. This keeps the action flowing and the pace up. It is not quite often the most innovative ways of presenting new work come from children’s theatre. This is a genre where theatre makers must always think of new ways to maintain the attention spans of young converts.

The play is recommended for ages 8 and up. Be aware that there are plenty of ideas for adults let alone kids to get their head around. “This is a theatre not a playground”, says an audience member to a child who is climbing on the seats. Surely it is both when audience and artists are having this much fun.

Terrapin Puppet Theatre presents
You And Me And The Space Between
by Finegan Kruckemeyer

Director Sam Routledge

Venue: Seymour Centre | Cnr Cleveland Street and City Road Chippendale NSW
Dates: 17 – 21 January 2017
Tickets: $36 – $32

Part of the 2017 Sydney Festival


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