Thursday 3 December 2015

Review: I Believe in Unicorns with Plugged In

I’ve written quite a few times about how much I love taking Ebony to the theatre. The very first production we went to see together was What The Ladybird Heard Live and it was amazing. Since then, we’ve been to see lots more shows and productions together. I always loved going to the theatre as a child and I’m enjoying sharing that experience with Ebony as she grows up.

Last month, we were invited to see I Believe In Unicorns at Colne Municipal Hall. I had read about the show and wanted to catch it when it was on at The Lowry, but alas I had to ban myself from buying theatre tickets for a couple of months (‘Fiona, where is all our money?’ ‘The Lowry have it, dear Laurie…’).

We were going to stay at my parents’ that weekend anyway so a trip to Colne Municipal worked out really well. We arrived just in time and stood on the street wolfing down very hot chips as a last minute dinner before rushing in to take our seats.

The show was amazing. Really amazing. There was just one actor in it, and she was brilliant. When I first realised it would just be her on stage, I worried for a moment that the show might fail to hold Ebony’s interest at not-yet four, but I needn’t have worried. Danyah Miller captured Ebony’s attention right at the start and didn’t let it go. She was engaging, interesting to watch and a superb story-teller. The props were magical, enchanting and beautiful. The show is about a library, and as such many of the production’s props were hidden in, made out of and cut into books. It was so beautiful. From books that opened to reveal pop up paper houses to little ladders cut from the pages of hardback books.

Props are probably one of the things I love most about the theatre, especially when it comes to children’s productions. I’m just always amazed at how inventive and purely magical the prop designers can be, and I Believe In Unicorns certainly did not disappoint. There was also just the right level of audience participation, allowing the children to really get involved with the telling of the story.

At the end of the show, there was a chance for children to 'meet' the wooden unicorn from the show. Ebony was really excited to get to stroke it, though it did, for one terrifying second, look like she might be thinking of attempting to snap the horn off.

The story itself isn’t one I’m familiar with, but it is based on a popular book. It has now been officially added to my wishlist because if the book is anything like the show, it’s worth reading. It was a nice treat to go to the theatre as a family, usually it’s just me and Ebony who go. It was also a nice treat to go in the evening rather than catching a weekday matinee.

We were offered free tickets to the performance in exchange for an honest review. The event was organised by Plugged In. Plugged In gives residents in Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle the opportunity to choose professional theatre to share with their community. You can find out more about the project and how you can get involved on their Facebook page.

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