Drawings come to life in this charming and cleverly crafted piece of laugh-out-loud theatre. With a live musician to accompany them, and a finely-tuned balance of whiteboard drawings and projections, we join a cheeky pair of artists as they set off on an ocean adventure with a friendly turtle.
An entire world is brought to life on a minimalist set: just a few whiteboards, some pens, and an adorable turtle. Right from the start, the performers keep the audience’s attention: as we enter, the they take blank whiteboard faces around the audience, asking us to fill in the features. Beginning with simple shapes and physical comedy, the piece starts creating characters, and then takes them deep underwater on an adventure.
The show is almost perfectly constructed for a mixed audience. It holds children’s attention very well yet is also enjoyable for parents – and with little dialogue, it is very accessible to those with little to no English. A secondary benefit is that smaller children can and do shout out with delight without interrupting the story. Only once, with a drawing involving labelled light switches, did the magic break down: although it became clear soon enough, I could hear every child asking their parent what the writing said.
There is one part just before the finale, with an angler fish, that I felt didn’t add enough to justify its inclusion – particularly so far into the piece. But in general, the pacing and flow is excellent, and the children (and adults) in the audience were engaged throughout the piece. By building the drawing and erasing of images from the whiteboards into the story, the flow is cleverly maintained – and it is equally smart to use some projection, to allow animation and keep the piece moving quickly enough for the younger audience members.
The duo have a great rapport with the children, and their exaggerated facial expressions and physical comedy has everyone laughing. When asking for help from the audience they encouraged many to have a go, but were sweet and funny with the ones too shy to try. They work very well together – and the timings are also slick between the projection, the musician, and the pair of them.
This piece is an excellent example of children’s theatre, blended with a well-performed musical accompaniment, keeping the young ones' interest but still having enough substance for adults to enjoy. Cleverly using their chosen medium to create scenes and story, this is a delight for all ages.