Theatre review: Secret Life of Suitcases

The Secret Life of Suitcases. Picture: Contributed
The Secret Life of Suitcases. Picture: Contributed
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IMAGINE that you lived in a universe run by benign, hairy quarks, cheery particles who occasionally send a suitcase full of fun and happiness to people who don’t know how to enjoy themselves.

Secret Life of Suitcases

Rothes Hall, Glenrothes

Star rating: * * * *

That’s the universe conjured up in this latest touring show for children around five to seven years old by writer Lewis Hetherington and puppet artist Ailie Cohen, and although the idea may seem far-fetched, the show itself is completely delightful.

So Ailie Cohen and her fellow-performer Nick Conte appear at first in brown suits, as they conjure up the life of their puppet hero Larry, a man who works in an old-fashioned office, is always very busy, and never has time for any fun.

One day, though, Larry finds a small suitcase by his desk and when he opens it, he finds himself on a journey that takes him through countryside and across seas – Cohen and Conte pull on coloured T-shirts to provide an appropriate backdrop – until he finds himself somewhere in hyperspace, where he meets the quarks.

The message about making time for the magic of life is simple yet it seems to strike a chord with a generation of children brought up in a long-hours culture that places huge pressure on family life.

And with the help of attractive lighting by Andrew Gannon, and sound by Niroshini Thambar, Larry’s story is presented here with a warmth and inventiveness that wins the rapt attention of its young audience, for a thoughtful, funny and rewarding 45 minutes.

Seen on 25.03.14
• In Benbecula today, Skye, Mull and Inverness next week, and on tour until 10 May