Theatre can inspire creativity and cognitive progression in young children, and is an example of a medium that has been used in this country for hundreds of years as a way of entertainment as well as to get people thinking. And that’s why I’m so glad that Filskit Theatre Company’s Breaking The Ice is so comfortable for children, who should be introduced to theatre from a young age.
The concept of the piece was incredibly clever. The actors never used words, only sounds as a form of expression, representing a unity of understanding in the whole room. It is the story of friendship and the ability to connect with others despite differences. We see a human, a werewolf, and a polar bear learning to interact with each other.
The illustrations used in the piece were so incredibly clever as to not only appear somewhat magical, but have allowances for the actors to interact. At times I found myself lost in a world of innocence and awe at the projections used in this piece. The timings with the actor’s movements were perfect, creating different illusions that were so visually exciting. I adored that the ice on the ground appeared to smash and create holes with fish swimming through after the polar bear had slammed her hands on the ground.
Sarah Shephard as the polar bear used broad yet delicate movements to demonstrate her character. This is the sort of animal that we’d traditionally expect to scare childen, but Shephard used many facial expressions to personify the polar bear and create a bridge for the children to understand her emotions. Katy Costigan and Victoria Dyson didn’t trail behind either; Dyson’s playful movements as the wolf were erratic but so watchable and Costigan’s performance was fantastic as the human pathway into the understanding of the story. This production exemplifies the company’s talent for storytelling and their remarkable ability to tap into their niche audience.
I would have to say that the only real criticism I have is that, at 50 minutes, the show was slightly too long. Although I was engaged the whole way through, I noticed some of the younger children grow fidgety towards the end. However, this was all rewarded at the end when the actors interacted with the children, playing together on the ice, which was so joyful to watch I couldn’t stop smiling.
It is so heartwarming to see that actors are looking to enforce the magic in the innocence of a child, and I look forward to following Filskit Theatre Company’s journey with what looks to be a bright future.
Breaking the Ice plays the Unicorn Theatre until October 4. For more information and tickets, see the Unicorn Theatre website.