Think outside the box and come along for the perfect playdate!
Anyone who has frantically searched online in pursuit of a last-minute gift for a child’s birthday or some other occasion, will be familiar with the gaudy colours and plethora of playthings available to todays youngsters! On such sites, toys are initially categorised by type – dolls, plush toys, vehicles – rather than “boys” and “girls”, but of course these filters are only a click away. Despite this seemingly neutral approach to toys, often the child pictured playing with a doll is a girl and the child pictured playing with a shark is a boy. Marketing has simply replaced gendered words with imagery – which is exactly what Can’t Sit Still are exploring in their digital delight, Play-Along Plink and Boo.
We’re invited to participate before the performance begins, with the company website offering several handy videos: the first, instructions on how to make your very own props and the second, a how-to build a den guide by 5-year-old Thea. The props invite you to join in as much as possible during the performance and there’s even a pop-up symbol to guide you! There are also three videos where you can meet the cast (Hobbit, Harriet and Jake) – just one of the excellent examples where the company have considered access needs.
To begin with, we meet two performers dressed in beige dungarees who match the beige panels of the set. The two friends begin by playing happily together in the space and perform impressive tricks, using two boxes wrapped in brown paper. As a performance that’s largely non-verbal (although any speech is accompanied by Sign Supported English) nothing is lost. In fact, there is something captivating about the pair as we watch them interact, experiment and explore. However, their fun is interrupted by a discovery that puzzles the pair as they navigate what box they are supposed to belong in, if they belong in a box at all… Here our Guest Reviewer, Ruby, tells us what she thought:
“I liked the music because it went loud and quiet and low. I also liked when they climbed out the box, and the boy coming out and tickling her toes. It was fun playing with the confetti and rainbows! I didn’t just like the pink toys but the blue toys as well, but the rainbows are my favourite. The performance is about sharing like I do with my little sister and being happy with the toys you want to play with. It was really good!“
– Ruby, 4
Due to the current restrictions, there is a wealth of digital theatre floating around the internet – but Play-Along Plink and Boo presents an expertly thought out hybrid by combining circus-theatre with all the benefits of a camera and editing. Animated illustrations (Johnny Luu) feature throughout; a flurry of musical notes appear as Harriet plays the marimba and motion lines form whenever a character makes a loud sound. There are also different camera shots – close ups, up shots and time-lapses all visually supporting the frame of the show to guide the audience. The digital aspect is carefully woven in throughout the entire performance and provides a sense of fun, creativity and purpose that little ones will love.
Play-Along Plink and Boo is the whole package; it’s accessible, it’s joyous and it’s clearly been created with children at its heart. The framing of gender stereotyping as a theme in the performance is living proof that there is no age limit of when we can begin conversations with little ones about identity. The show is suitable for ages 2-7, but even older children would enjoy the performance and spark interesting conversations about what they have seen, making this a true example of Family Theatre.
Can’t Sit Still have created a delightful performance where we can explore the magic within our own uniqueness, without being confined to a box.
Next Showing: Weds 7th – Fri 9th April 2021 | The Civic, Barnsley | Link coming soon!
Running Time: 30 minutes
Tickets: On sale soon!