Creating theatre for a pre-school audience is a true juggling act. Avoiding three-year-old confusion is paramount, but then so is entertaining the grown-up sitting next to them. After over a decade of practice, Edinburgh-based theatre company Licketyspit has this challenge down to a fine art.
The Lickety Tale of Molly Whuppie - North Edinburgh Arts Centre
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The story of Molly Whuppie, and its characters, is introduced and explained time and again, until there can be no doubt that everyone is on board and briefed about what’s about to happen. Yet it’s done in such a dynamic, lively and musical way, that even those who caught it the first time are happy to be re-informed.
Once Virginia Radcliffe and Kirsty Stuart have done the requisite amount of scene setting, the adventure starts – and what a gentle but exciting adventure it is. Young Molly, hungry and cold – and with no hope of a tasty meal at the upcoming “winter feast” – sets out to solve the family’s food shortage.
It’s a quest that takes her far from home, scaling high mountains and crossing a perilously narrow bridge, encountering an enormous giant and greedy king along the way.
With Stuart as a brave and likeable Molly, Radcliffe portrays the remaining characters easily and, most crucially, with real clarity. Together, they run, jump and spin around the cleverly designed set, making astute use of its various nooks and crannies.
Multi-talented instrumentalist Gavin Marwick provides musical accompaniment and live sound effects, and the whole piece flows with just the right amount of speed and charm to keep everyone engaged but not overwhelmed.