As most curtain up times clash with bath and bedtime now here at chez MADEUP, anything that allows little people into the theatre in daylight hours is a winner these days. So Curious, a collaboration from Tam Tam Theatre and Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, had been in the diary for a while. This lovely one-woman show is especially for babies under three years old, and invites the children to sit around the set during the performance and take part in a little play session afterwards.
Performer Marleen Vermeulen introduces the children to her little toy dog Horcha. It’s Horcha’s birthday, so making a cake is in order – cue mud, flour and water everywhere as the actress clumsily and comically sets about the task in hand (and of course kids, tidying up as you go). Vermeulen’s clowning and comic timing is delightful, the jazz soundtrack is fun and the simple set – little more than a big yellow mat, some crates and some cooking utensils – stands out in the black box space, all of which helps to hold the children’s attention quite raptly.
The 25 minute performance is an ideal length for young children, who get to sing, laugh, and make their own mud pies at the end – more brownie points for Vemeulen here, as her interaction with the young audience was genuinely sweet and enthusiastic. The whole experience is an enjoyable one for adults too; I was secretly gutted that my sleepy son promptly conked out at the end of the performance and missed the playtime (a theme: he napped through a big chunk of Happily Ever After as well the other week), as it seemed to engage all the other children very well. Before that though, at ten months old, for the most part he watched the action with interest and seemed to enjoy the show.