By S Mulvihill
Moon Mission are a young theatre company and if Hush, their Fringe offering for this year, is anything to go by one we can expect big things from in the future. In a newly imagined fairytale they achieve something much kids theatre struggles to: an honest and believable portrayal of child characters. Not overblown, not over-simplified, not caricatures, but real, three dimensional characters the audience can empathise with.
In Hush we meet Princess, Nosey and Chatterbox in their world of secrets, spying and magical puddles of tears. On the way into the auditorium Princess hands everyone a ‘secret’ on a piece of paper – a secret about Nosey. When he finds out he gets cross and decides to steal all of Princess’ secrets and tell everyone. What we find out through the piece is why Princess is so secretive in the first place, and the importance of trust in friendships. Thankfully, the show doesn’t patronise the audience by spelling it out in such an obvious way. The costumes and set choices, including a large floor piano and cap with rotors, give a feeling of familiarity and security to the audience. In fact the whole show feels safe, not in an unadventurous sense but in a sense of putting everyone at ease. You get the impression that the cast and crew genuinely like children, in that they giggle mischievously when a young audience member shouts out at an inopportune moment, or tries to strike up a conversation with the actors. The company seem really committed to producing good children’s theatre, emphasised by the fact they come out to meet their audience after the show and ask for feedback.
Filled with imagination and inventiveness this show was refreshingly different to a lot of kids plays on offer. Billed as an interactive piece a little more could have been made of the ears handed out by Nosey, or the secrets hidden around the room, but all in all this was a delightful wee piece that you could happily take a 3 month old or 30 year old to. The story was full without being unnecessarily overcomplicated and the three actors executed it with true skill. Highly recommended.
What the kids say: I really liked the story – it was the best I’ve seen.