IN THE last few years, Iceland has acquired an iconic status in Europe, as the little nation that found itself at the centre of the 2008 global banking crash, but somehow managed to survive.
It’s still a strange feeling, though, to see this extraordinary love-letter to Iceland delivered by Compagnie TPO of Italy, as part of the Imaginate children’s theatre festival.
Kindur is the Icelandic word for sheep; and for 50 mind-blowing minutes, the visual magicians of TPO, and the company’s three dancers, conjure up an extraordinary view of Iceland. As the show opens, the big cyclorama at the back of the stage shows giant blades of grass against a blue sky; then there’s a little sheep-hut in a snow-storm, an icy winter world of frozen ponds, a springtime of crocuses and bees, and finally the volcano, spitting out red fire, followed by a gush of steamy white hot springs, and a return to the meadow. And always, there’s the beating heart of the Icelandic sheep, “beautiful, strong, and brave”; each performer, and every audience member, has a white furry one attached, that glows at key moments, while big furry hearts also explode from the cyclorama sky.
Amid all this splendour, the movement of the three dancers seems more like a minor aspect of a magnificent visual installation than the centre of the live performance. However we define this show, though, it makes a memorable experience, for children aged six and over. “I want to see it more!” piped one girl, as the lights came up; and from young theatregoers, there’s no higher praise than that.