Creators: Company with Kevin Dyer
Director: Nina Hajiyianni
Reviewer: John Roberts
The Public Reviews Rating:
Young people have always been at the forefront and ethos of every piece of work created by Cheshire based Action Transport Theatre and From the Mouths of Babes is no different; however what is unusual is that this 50 minute production designed for seven year olds and over uses no spoken words apart from some interspersed pre-recorded moments.
The production came about as an experiment, one that sets out to answer life’s tricky questions, ones that are still being pondered by people who are nearing the end of their life and then taken to 14 local primary schools for the children to answer in their own unique and often profound ways. Director Nina Hajiyianni alongside Kevin Dyer and the company set about devising a piece of physical theatre suitable to tackle these very questions.
The action takes place at a radio telecommunications assembly plant, a new worker played with a cheeky chaplinesque charm by Michael Lattin-Rawstrone, here he struggles to fit in with the official and commanding boss (Simone Lewis) and her right-hand helpers (Rebecca Rogers) ways, everything has to be done in the same way, uniformity is the key, yet he manages to bring his own uniqueness to the factory, where initial chaos reigns, yet at the end of the tunnel through challenging pre-conceptions everything finds its own natural way and harmony is restored in a very different manner.
Filled to the brim with visual comedy, Hajiyianni’s production works best when it is full of frantic energy, the beauty of the choreographic dance movements being just one particular highlight. So often nowadays theatre wants to give its audience everything but here Imagination can take you anywhere including a wondrous snowstorm in Antarctic, however at times the quieter more still elements may have worked for the adults in the room but a full audience of TV loving seven years olds struggled to find focus during these moments. That is not to say they didn’t enjoy it, in fact quite the opposite even to the extent where in front of me one child was in floods of tears as Lattin-Rawstrone throws himself in the trash compactor whilst her energised neighbour found it hilarious.
From the Mouths of Babes could include more of the pre-recorded voices which are utilised well, however it is at times hard to see where the productions stimulus comes from without the context or indeed more of these voices…As we get older we lose our sense of fun, we let go of our inner child…What would happen if every so often we get back in touch with that child? It wouldn’t be that bad would it?
Of course not and being transported back to the care-free days of childhood on a wet winters day proved a perfect escape from another day of administration.
Runs until 21st October 2012