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Review: White by Catherine Wheels at Northern Stage

PRODUCING a play which keeps a large group of the under-fives engrossed for a mere 40 minutes must be easy, right?

PRODUCING a play which keeps a large group of the under-fives engrossed for a mere 40 minutes must be easy, right?

I think not, especially when most pre-school kids have been thoroughly Disney-Pixared.

The charming kids’ show White doesn’t have much of a script, but does have a quirky soundtrack, beautiful design, gentle humour, some great sound affects, a smattering of magic and a disco ball.

White features Cotton and Wrinkle, (Ross Allan and Sean Hay) who have a father and son relationship, and live in a pure world of white where any invasion of colour goes straight in the bin.

Each morning they don toilet pedestal mats as aprons over their lederhosen and get to work feather dusting their little world of bird houses.

Amusingly, they also use their pedestal mats to catch falling white eggs from the sky and all remains idyllic until the arrival of a red egg. Wrinkle demands that the egg is thrown away but Cotton retrieves it and gives it a home.

The act of kindness is the moment that the perfect white landscape surrenders to disorder and overnight a colour infiltrates everywhere.

Disharmony commences as Cotton and Wrinkle attempt to hide colour from each other and reaches a climax when the red egg is unearthed.

Fortunately, reconciliation is achieved when both characters admit their secret love of colour and the joyous moment is completed by a cannon fire of confetti.

Catherine Wheels have produced a whirligig of a show which, for the littlest ones, could just be about two funny men learning about colour and, for the older ones, can be about concepts of change, difference, acceptance and compassion.

A masterclass in kids’ theatre and 40 minutes of fun.

Tamzin Lewis

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