Theatre review: Children's show: Moonbird, Pleasance Courtyard - Beside, Edinburgh

Deaf people who use sign language often say it adds a whole different dimension to communication and understanding.

Children's Show: Moonbird, Pleasance Courtyard
Children's Show: Moonbird, Pleasance Courtyard

Moonbird, Pleasance Courtyard - Beside, Edinburgh ***

This charming play, which is particularly aimed at deaf children and their families, tries to bring us all into that special world.

It is the story of a silent prince, Orla, who is born deaf and who must learn to communicate with his parents and find his place in society.

Performed by an ensemble of deaf and hearing actors, Moonbird uses music, movement, puppets, British Sign Language, written English, illustration and speech to tell its story.

The gentle, simple tale, in which Orla travels to an enchanted garden to learn how to sign, illuminates the emotional depth, playfulness and directness of signing.

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It shows the isolation and lack of confidence which can sometimes be experienced by deaf children – as well as demonstrating how this can be overcome. There are a couple of moments where switching between different means of communication slows down the action – but generally the story of Orla is easily understood.

Members of the audience learn some sign language and show their appreciation at the end by waving their hands – which, for non-hearing people, is the way to applaud.

CLAIRE SMITH

Until 26 August