16-30 August at 13:50 (14:30)
Billed as suitable for children from 5 years, but philosophical for adults too, we were not quite sure what to expect from this spectacle of physical theatre. The stage was set with simple but effective scenery depicting a rocky landscape. Into the story danced a young boy, who found a dandelion and blew the seeds around.
We were then entertained by a shadow play showing a dog trying to do a poo and being told by various creatures that he was not welcome to do a poo near them. At this point, our senior reviewer was not certain that she was hearing correctly – but yes, poo it was indeed. A dancing dog then appeared to act out the deed itself: finding somewhere to deposit this poo. We were really not sure how this story was going to unfold and were feeling like this might just have been like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes – something magical might have been going on but we weren’t quite able to see it as we were still reeling from the graphic sight of the poo-ing puppy!
However, the beautiful staging, wonderful costumes and music as well as the dancer’s humorous and moving interpretation of the story helped to suspend our disbelief and served to entrance as the tale unfolded. Written as an antidote to the endless stream of traditional tales involving princes and princesses, the story illustrates that nothing God made is useless.
Doggy-poo, now the main character, meets a variety of beautifully-clad characters in her journey to find out how she can live a meaningful life, with some, like Uncle Dirt, giving clues as to her possible purpose, and others like a bird and a mother hen and her chicks making her feel worthless and sad. Humorous and moving encounters are depicted along the journey to find her true purpose – to become the manure which will fertilise the growth of a beautiful flower. Although each of the six dancers gave excellent performances, we thought the Mother Hen was particularly good, and the dances using lights to depict seeds were very effective.
Young children who are already fans of dance will enjoy this different and unusual tale, and as we saw adults in the audience being moved to tears by the simplicity and profound message being portrayed, it is likely that older members of the audience will enjoy for deeper reasons too. However, the pre-teen audience might just not be able to sit back and enjoy the message.
Added comments by Helen (12): “It was suitable for younger children”