Theatre review: The Adventures of Butterfly Boy; Musselburgh Brunton Theatre

ON STAGE, there are three female dancers, perched around the slats and shelves of an open-ended garden shed; there’s also a boy, reading a book, and playing with a magnifying glass.

From the outset, it’s not clear whether the girls are insects he examines through his glass, or other children who don’t quite share his geeky enthusiasm for them; in fact, they seem a little bit of both.

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And although this slight sense of confusion could weaken the Pucko Company’s new 50-minute dance show for children aged five and over, the odd thing about Butterfly Boy – directed and choreographed by Christine Devaney, to a gorgeous cello score composed and played live by Greg Sinclair – is that it seems to thrive on the tension between the two worlds it suggests, insect and human. Some sequences seem a little overlong; there’s plenty of repetitive playing, running, and teasing between the girls and the boy, and a long slow movement in which Devaney explores ideas about hiding, and then about not seeing, even when things are not hidden.

At every turn, though, the show is beautifully lit, softly coloured, and full of a kind of playful intensity, in the music and dancing, that holds our attention even when we can’t be quite sure of what’s happening. And in that sense, this show probably nudges young theatre-goers closer to a real feeling for dance; not only as a means of storytelling, but as an art-form with a mysterious life of its own.

Rating: * * * *