MANUFACTURING a toy that satisfied a one-year-old and five-year-old in equal measure would be a tough endeavour - and making a show for the same age range is equally tricky.
The Polar Bears Go Wild
Glasgow-based Fish & Game company comes very close, however. Dressed in white fluffy suits, with painted faces, Eilidh MacAskill and Fiona Manson are the eponymous Arctic bears, and mighty cute they are, too.
Over the course of 50 minutes, the duo overcome a number of challenges which are simplistic in nature (pouring juice, sharing out sandwiches, pulling off shoes) but will be clearly recognisable to your average toddler.
Designed by Claire Halleran, the mountain-shaped set is one of the show’s biggest assets. Doors open to reveal new pieces of equipment or a polar bear’s face, and mini versions of MacAskill and Manson sail off in a tiny boat or traverse the mountainside. The use of lighting at the end to create a Christmas tree is a moment of pure delight. But there are times when Polar Bears Go Wild falls between two stools. Not a word is spoken throughout – nor does it need to be – so babies can keep up with the action. But the absence of any real plot or storytelling arc seems a shame, when much of the audience will be used to devouring narrative picture books. Meeting the sensory demands of the very young, while stimulating four and five-year-olds is perhaps a bridge too far for anyone.