Can you catch starlight? Well Little Possum certainly could. This brilliant performance – Starlight, performed at Victoria Hall in Settle for Settle Stories (on December the 17th 2016)- had every child laughing, excited and delighted: it was enjoyed by all. Here is a review from on of your Young Reviewers - Anya.
Starlight is the story of a creature called Little Possum. One day Little Possum wakes up in his cave; it was very dark and all he could see was many many stars. He wanted to show this magnificent view to his mother so he collects some starlight in his small box. In the morning his mother is very ill and Little Possum is told he must make his own dinner. To do this he needs to go on a long journey to find his food. Possum is very frightened, but his mother reminds him how, even though he is very small, Possum is very brave and clever. Little Possum sets out through the dark wood, through the gloomy forest, over the river and beyond. On his way he meets many other creatures who, when Little Possum was finding things difficult and frightening, provide him with advice.
Chris Bostock’s story telling was fantastic: the children were enthralled right from the beginning. The way his tone and pace went higher and lower, and increased and decreased in volume, made the tale feel as though you were there in the story-running along with Little Possum. When Little Possum ran, Chris’ voice sped up, helping you fully visualise Little Possum increasing his pace of movement. Chris changed his voice (accent and pitch) to show a change in character. Even though there was only one person telling the story, Chris’ skill in portraying different characters made it easy for the young children to follow along with the plot- engaging them further.
Along with the much enjoyed story line, acting and story telling, the magnificent props and setting, made of a variety of warm yellows, oranges and brown coloured silky fabrics, created an even more amazing and enjoyable performance. The silky back drop created a special and unique atmosphere gently moving in the warm air of the theatre, like a mirage on a hot day. These atmospheric silks flowed across the stage creating a feeling of open space for miles on end similar to the fact that any story could be told to us and it could lead us anywhere.
The children sat on a red carpet on the same level and close to Chris. Many of the children, loved sitting here. There faces glowed with delight: they were surrounded by other young children and they had freedom from their parents. Perhaps, the red carpet reminded them of magic carpets that had carried storybook characters to faraway places full of excitement and joy.
Chris’ story of Little Possum, was no story book. This time it was these young children’s turn: this red carpet surely flew these young children to a place far away that definitely excited them and infused their imagination.
The red carpet was specifically for children. Behind, chairs were layed out, for adults. ///////////This close proxemics provided a safe feeling for the young children-the thought of knowing their parents were near by but also were offered the chance to be independent. The small distance between the audience and Chris created a special feeling for the children: it was as if they were in the story, not just observers. The fact that the performance was not on the stage and was instead on the ground with the audience made for an intimate, truly special experience for the children alike, as could be seen in the wide open awe inspiring eyes and gleaming, ear to ear smile.
At particular moments throughout the show music was gently played, and sometimes the children were taught moves and words to join in with the story telling. The music quietened the children, focussing them on Little Possum’s adventures, while enhancing the awe and inspiring atmosphere where imagination reigned among the gathered 2-6 year olds – and maybe even among the adults-- making a special quiet atmosphere electrified with a feeling of wonder, excitement and intrigue filling the air.
Little Possum’s journey, enhanced by those he met, of finding his own bravery offered a strong and powerful message: no matter how small (physically or mentally) you feel or are, you can still be brave and strong. This is a timely message for children of this age. Many will be going into school soon or have recently started. This reminder of how they can be strong, even if they are one of the youngest or smallest, can positively influence a young person. That one can see someone else going through the struggle of feeling small and then witnessing how they deal with it is very inspiring, even for those older then 6 year old. Anyone can feel small physically or mentally and Starlight shows us how we can overcome this fear.
Starlight was a fantastic performance and I would thoroughly recommend seeing it- especially with young children, but it is an ageless story and production: anyone can enjoy this brilliant play by Chris Bostock’s.
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