Snow Mouse is an enchanting seasonal and festive production which is aimed at ‘babies, pre-schoolers and their families’. On entering the room we were immediately transformed into a winter snowy forest, where the floor, walls and seats were all white, as if covered in snow. The cone-shaped trees were also all white with white flowers and there were small furry rugs for the audience to sit on along with stool and benches for those preferring to sit higher. The stage is an area at the front demarcated by further white fur but is easily accessible to anyone, particularly toddlers crawling or walking around. There were soft fluffy snowballs scattered around the room for the audience to feel immersed in the forest.
The story, told by one man and a puppet mouse, tells the tale of a the friendship between a child and a mouse. After the child finds the mouse in the forest, we watch the pair explore together, eating a cheese sandwich before going for a ride in the sledge and eventually flying off around the forest together. The flight ends and snow mouse ends up buried under the snow. When eventually found the mouse is trembling with the cold and needs warming up. The boy wraps him up in his scarf and hat and takes him to his house where he gives the Snow Mouse a present.
Nothing very dramatic happens in Snow Mouse but the simple, slow story and the puppetry make for a calm and seasonal, engaging 30-35 minutes (it says it will be 40 minutes but our production was over in 30). The recommended age range is appropriate and although slightly older children may find it watchable, school-age children may be less absorbed by it.
The show is advertised with ‘a tactile set perfect for audiences to come and sit close to the action’. This is certainly true with the snowy room, furry rugs and snowballs. But, when enthusiastic members of the audience crawled onto the set, the escorting adults were quickly asked to remove the exploring child from the stage. This was understandable but the proximity of the open stage was a little difficult for some parents with very eager children!
Overall a warm and calm show, which transforms the audience to a wintery, forest to watch 2 friends spending time together.
- Director: Nik Partridge
- Designer: Edwina Bridgeman
- Music: Alex Vann
- Co-produced by Travelling Light Theatre Company and the egg, Bath
- Puppetry: Marc Parrett
- Barbican Centre, London
- 13th- 23rd December 2017
- Review by Poppy Coren (Age 4)
- 19 December 2017