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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

At the Festival: 'Chalk About' - Curious Seed - At The Hannah Playhouse 1 March 2016

Reviewed by the CoffeeBar Kid

As soon as I got home I was asked to describe the show I'd just seen, Curious Seed's production of Chalk About, from Scotland and on currently on during at the Hannah Playhouse.  The best 'elevator description' I can come up with is that it's a show of dance - with talking and drawing.  Before starting proper the cast, Christine Devaney and Neils Weijer, invite the young members of the audience on to the stage, really just a huge blackboard, to draw chalk outlines.  This segues into the opening 'piece', a frantic, and chaotic explaination of the results from a children's survey about what what makes good theatre.  The answers are predictable, and quirky - Elsa from 'Frozen' must appear; there must be dinosaurs, explosions, the Queen, super heros and a list too long to go into here.  That leads into a quick animated sequence demonstrating in dance and 'text' what a play featuring all this would look like - very funny - and a statement: "we won't be doing this!"  No, indeed.  Instead the show unravels to reveal set pieces about the performer's life stories, family trees and other things.  Relationships, really. Devaney Tells us about herself and growing up in Scotland, in which both illustrate with unique and creative choreography.  Weijer then joins in With his version, told entirely in a Scandinavian language and cleverly translated through pictures in chalk on the floor.  This technique is very clever, showing how it's possible to get across a message even when languages bar us. 

There are many other clever moments, the use of LifeSize paper dolls, balloon and blow up clouds, all adding a sense of fun and imagination to a show that' sloth for kids and adults.  Devaney and Weijer, work exceptionally well together.  Their rapport is hand in glove perfect and it shows.  A quick survey and eavesdrop told me that, on the whole the punters appreciated all this, although a little befuddled.  The younger ones remembered specifics, especially the giggly moments.  For them moments matter.  It was a good night for those. 

Chalk About is on at Hannah Playhouse until March 6.

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