Audience as entertaining as performers in production for babies

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Presenters Amy and Cameron welcome us to the show and usher us into the performance space: a softly-lit, tent-like structure in calm shades of pink and blue, with comfortable cushions for sitting on.


Very unusually, this a show especially for babies. At 10am on Monday there are seven of them, mostly under a year old. Caregivers have been assured that running around, crying and other such behaviours are completely acceptable.

At first, and without any preamble, Amy and Cameron lie on the floor pretending to asleep; then they wake up and hug each other.

After that, interaction with the babies is more direct, and involves mild percussion, music, singing and other kinds of usually wordless vocalisation, and explorations of the possibilities of simple toys and lights.

Pace and tone vary from soothing to upbeat, but are never loud, and there is a good awareness of what attracts and keeps babies’ attention.

The babies are at least as interesting to watch as the performers. Some of the smaller ones stay on their caregivers’ laps, while others are interested in making friends with the performers and each other. A little fellow in a striped T-shirt crawls around adventurously, eager to explore the surroundings.

The oldest child, a girl who may well have a future in the performing arts, seems interested in stealing the show. As the half-hour ticks by, even the most reticent babies seem more engaged. Without exception, everyone behave beautifully.

And their caregivers? They appear every bit as delighted as the babies, and comments afterwards are highly appreciative.

Like everyone else, the (unaccompanied) reviewer thoroughly enjoyed the 30 minutes of gentle, undiluted charm. Really good theatre for children is rare, and for the smallest members of society it’s almost non-existent.

It would be wonderful to see more special, sensitive productions like this one.

 

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