All too often kids’ entertainment is code for loud, silly, brash and bright. It’s easy to be discerning and decide your offspring prefer The Little Prince to Peppa Pig – until, of course, you actually have a child.
Most children seem to be born with a love of obnoxious pink porcines and fart jokes; their parents, mostly, might prefer some charming, gentle storytelling.
The Missing Light, The Old Vic Theatre’s new family show, is precisely the artful, imaginative creation that parents will coo over. But the real magic is the effect this wordless, 45-minute puppet show had upon all the youngsters in the audience.
Exploring love, loss, friendship and hope, with a dose of adventure thrown in, The Missing Light follows a woman living in a fishing village. Each night, as she awaits the return of her beloved fisherman, she waves at the light of his boat, flashing far out at sea. Then we see the same woman, older and alone. When an inventive new neighbour arrives and wants to be friends, the pair sail, dive and fly across the sea.
Children aged from around six to 12 sat silently (far better behaved than the average adult audience), listening to dreamy acoustic music and gazing at a screen on which are projected the intricate puppet movements.
Doll-like figurines and scenery the size of a shoe box are captured close up by four cameras and projected in large scale on the screen above. Smaller children are completely absorbed. Traditional shadow puppetry is combined with innovative filming techniques to bring life and character to the story. There are no words, loud noises or facial expressions, and the subject-matter suits the gentleness of the production.
There are plenty of warm, witty moments, but the mood of this short, sweet little show is far more profound – for both children and adults alike.
Suitable for ages 6+
|What||The Missing Light, The Old Vic review|
|Where||The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
23 Mar 17 – 04 Apr 17, Show times: 11:15 and 13:30
|Price||£6 - £12|
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|