With colourful books hanging from the ceiling and stacked on the floor, you will be welcome in the warmth and hospitable theatre room of the Half Moon Theatre by inviting music and singing, whose poetic lyrics reflect the colourful expressions found in the English language. What does it mean if you see red? Do you ever feel blue? Have you ever told a white lie? Are you sometimes green with envy? Can anyone really be tickled pink?
The show plays imaginatively on the idea that colours not only reflect specific emotions, but like certain smells and foods, are also associated with childhood memories. Featuring a cast of twelve and with live music and sound effects throughout as well as dancing, we are transported into another space filled with sunshine and adventure. Thus the yellow books become in turn sand-castles, seagulls, crabs and shells in which one can hear the waves in the sea, the different flavours of ice-cream. The blue books are transformed into a boat, while the actors become pirates, sailors and explorers of the world. The red section is very charming too, as it is set in a garden full of pretend snails, butterflies, and bees, in which a couple of naughty children enjoy the taste of strawberries, tomatoes, and cherries.
But not is all rosy in “Colour”. Some of the stories in the play are indeed very comic, while others are moving and thought-provoking. Developed in direct consultation with young people aged 7-11, “Colour” explores the full spectrum of their lives, their friendships, and family stories, including the grey areas. For instance, we are led to wonder about the implications of bullying for both parties, about the tension between the beauty and the difficulties involved in being a non-native English speaker living in London, about the experience of being an orphaned refugee due to war, and about the empowering presence of technology in children’ lives.
Also, how does one shake off one’s blues? Will the trombone dance work a treat or will one remain as soft as a rag doll? And can we get rid of negative emotions such as anger and hate? While “Colour” asks interesting questions about emotions and plays on the nostalgia of child-hood memories, one wonders whether this insight into what it means to grow up in 2014 is not more poignant for an adult audience than for the age group it is actually aimed at.