Pros: A moving and gentle exploration of love and loss through fabulous puppetry, wonderful moment and kites.
Cons: You’re going to run a risk with your fellow audience members… But it’s well worth it!
Sometimes there are no words – sometimes you don’t know what to say, and sometimes words are just not needed. The Wrong Crowd manage to engage with both of these possibilities in their wonderful new show, Kite. After the death of her mother, a girl, played with unflinching conviction by Charlotte Croft, moves to London and into the care of her Grandmother (Liz Crowther.) They are caught up in their respective grief and clearly neither of them know what to say. Some of the most touching moments happen when it’s clearest that speech is missing – the Grandmother opens her mouth to speak on a couple of occasions, and Liz Crowther’s poignant performance allows us to understand that she simply can’t find the words to express how she feels, let alone help her granddaughter deal with her own grief. What unfolds over the course of the play tells us more about their experiences than any words could communicate. This beautiful piece of physical theatre, puppetry and kite work by The Wrong Crowd, a Devon-based company, manages in its 50 minutes to gently examine how play and exploration can lighten even the darkest of times.
The cast is completed by Linden Walcott-Burton and Nicola Blackwell who play the Wind, moving seamlessly across the stage, adjusting and twisting the variety of fabrics and cloths which supplement the set. All four members of the cast have such wonderfully fluid movements, interacting with each other and the set in such a natural way that the piece flows seamlessly from one scene to the next. Especially joyous to watch is the journey the girl and her grandmother undertake on various means of transport across London to her house, sound effects, lighting and simple movements managing to summon up the chaos of their journey.
The Wrong Crowd were inspired by stories such as The Red Balloon and The Snowman, as well as their discovery of indoor kites, to create this show. And in a way very reminiscent of these stories, the Kite itself becomes a central character, leading the girl on an adventure through London. In the small space of the Soho theatre it’s hard to imagine how flying a kite can physically happen, yet alone how it can have such an impressive impact on the audience, but this little yellow kite zooms above the heads of the cast and the audience, forcing you to look up and take notice. It’s really lovely to watch, and definitely impressed the children sitting on the front row. In fact, all of the many children sitting near me were clearly completely absorbed – I think the fact there were still sweets in their bags when the show finished is an excellent reflection of how much they enjoyed it.
But, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just a show for children. I think writing puppetry and physical theatre off as the realm of children does it a massive disservice, and this show is a prime example of the wonderful and moving theatre you could miss if you dismissed it as a genre. So please, whether you think silent shows are your thing or not, make time for this joyous, heart warming story – you’ll definitely be grateful you did.
Director/Designer: Rachael Canning
Movement Director: Eddie Kay
Box Office: 020 7478 0100
Booking Link: http://www.sohotheatre.com
Booking Until: 6th February 2016 then touring.